Running Club makes strides to serve community through 5K


The Running Club will host a charity 5K on Saturday to help buy shoes for children in the Ames and Des Moines area. Courtesy of the Iowa State Running Club.

The sound of shoes pounding the pavement can be heard as Iowa State’s Running Club makes their way around campus during their daily training.

Although running club members are often busy while preparing to compete, they have set out to engage in something beyond themselves this fall. The group will be hosting a 5K race dubbed the Cross Campus Classic on Saturday. A portion of the race’s proceeds will go to Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) to help buy shoes for children, a cause near to these runners’ hearts.

“We’ve been talking about wanting to do some sort of 5K for a few years now, and we’ve just never done it, but I really wanted to actually take action,” said Alexandra Radermacher, president of the Running Club and a senior studying biochemistry. “I was like, ‘okay, well if we’re going to do a 5K, I think we should do it for a bigger purpose.”

When deciding which charity the Cross Campus Classic should benefit, the Running Club stumbled upon YSS, a local organization that was willing to support their ambitions of raising money for children’s shoes. With its headquarters on Kellogg Avenue in Ames, YSS spans the state of Iowa and has over 38 programs that provide different services for various needs.

“Our mission is to create hope and opportunity by putting kids first,” said Sarina Flathers, YSS community engagement coordinator. “We really empower youth and families by providing education that helps them build healthy minds and bodies, counseling to overcome life challenges and then that stability for them to be able to focus on the future.”

The running club does not have a particular goal for donations, but they hope to collect enough money to buy a couple pairs of shoes for children in the Ames and Des Moines area.

“[The Running Club] really had organized everything,” Flathers said. “We are just really grateful to be the benefactor of the whole thing, so I think that really is going to be incredible.”

A secondary goal is for the Cross Campus Classic to be an event that unites the community.

“We would love for youth runners, older folks…all those people to come together and celebrate something we all love, which is running, and just to be able to develop relationships with these different groups in the community,” said Emily Gress, Running Club treasurer and a senior studying biology.

The process of officially organizing this event began several weeks ago. Gress worked alongside a fellow club member to meet with the Iowa State event authorization staff. From there, the Cross Campus Classic was approved, allowing the group to proceed with their plans, which Gress described as “hitting the ground running.”

“It’s really cool to see, like, wow, we’re really going to do this event,” Gress said. “We’ll see what the turnout is, but it’s just exciting to see something come to life that you’ve thought about and want to work.”

ISU’s running club wishes to remain involved with YSS following the conclusion of the event. The organization offers numerous volunteer opportunities, such as helping with after-school youth programs.

“Just getting to meet with the staff members at YSS has been so fun,” Radermacher said. “They’re such a good group and you can just tell that they’re so excited to help people; it makes me want to be a part of it.”

The Cross Campus Classic will take place on one of the 5K race routes approved by Iowa State. The course will begin and end near the Campanile, with participants completing a 3.16-mile loop that goes around the perimeter of the university’s campus.

Individuals can register to partake in the Cross Campus Classic by signing up on the Student Organization Marketplace website. There is an entry fee of $15, where $10 will go toward a participant t-shirt, and the remaining $5 will be donated to YSS. Additional donations will be accepted on the Marketplace website.