By MATT CRANE
Hosted by the Mississippi State University Student Association, participants in Thursday’s On Your Mark, Get Set, GLOW 5K race may be running late, but their lights will shine bright for Mississippi’s only children’s hospital, Blair E. Batson.
Beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at the MSU Amphitheater, co-director of late night events Brett Harris said the planning of the event began in during last year’s football season.
“We came up with the idea to do a glow run and have DJ Glotron come on board and provide music for the evening,” he said. “Emma Welch, who was a kid captain at a football game last year, was a patient at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, so when we were figuring out where the money should go, we could not think of a better person to spotlight and a better organization to donate money.”
Beginning and ending at the amphitheater, Harris said the race route covers approximately 3 miles through campus with cowbell ringers showing the turns.
“We will have on-course DJs and everyone will be given glow sticks and neon T-shirts for their run,” he said. “It’s great, easy way to give back to the only children’s hospital in Mississippi. All of our proceeds will be going to Blair E. Batson.”
Harris said a special moment will be taken at the beginning of the race to honor members of the MSU family who have died.
“We will take time to remember the faculty and staff at MSU who have passed away,” he said. “Our motto is: ‘Remembering for a Brighter Tomorrow.’”
While any race contains a certain amount of competition, Harris said community members have the opportunity to make their time on the course their own.
“Whether you can run 3 miles or not, it is going to be a fun event because we are saying that you can run, walk or even dance your way through this 5K,” he said. “We just hope everyone will enjoy themselves while giving back to a great cause.”
Harris said music will be played at the end of the race as participants wait to hear the results of the awards which feature categories like top three male and female 5K walk, top three male and female 5K run, top three male and female 1- mile fun run and best costume.
One Starkville family participating — Ben, Selena and Liam Hodge — have a special connection to the work done at the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.
Selena Hodge, whose son Liam was a patient at Batson, said she and her husband, Ben, along with Liam in the stroller, are looking forward to the race.
“I have not done a 5K in a long time and I thought it would be fun,” she said. “It is for such a great cause.”
Hodge said she is happy to participate in the event and is thankful for the work the children’s hospital does everyday in Mississippi.
“The wonderful doctors and nurses at Blair Batson will always have a special place in my heart,” she said. “They were so amazing to us after Liam was born and then again when we went back for his open-heart surgery. It is because of them that Liam is doing so well today.”
Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital Public Affairs employee Matthew Johnson said he was appreciative and humbled by the efforts Mississippians take everyday to give back to the hospital.
“It’s a very special feeling to be chosen by the students at MSU,” he said. “They are the future of Mississippi, and giving back to Mississippi’s only children’s hospital helps future generations of young Mississippians.”
For more information, call 662-325-2930 or visit http://www.sa.msstate.edu .