The Cal State Fullerton community got a taste of military lifestyle Saturday morning at the fourth annual Ruck-A-Thon, a fundraising event for CSUF’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
Participants in the event either ran or walked a 10k course while lugging a 35-pound rucksack over their shoulders. Other participants could opt to do a 5k run without the ruck.
Fundraising for this year’s Ruck-a-Thon was a bit different, said Major Brad Isler, executive officer and instructor for ROTC. In years past, participants paid a $25 registration fee to participate. This year, in addition to the registration fee, cadets were encouraged to raise money by having people sponsor them in the run.
ROTC raised “considerably” more money compared to years past, Isler said, approximately $3,500. Past Ruck-a-Thons raised around $1,000 to $1,500.
“The way we’ve done it this year seems to be a recipe for success,” Isler said.
According to Isler, the money raised will go directly to ROTC, and helps fund things like transportation costs and renting out training facilities.
Each runner’s bag was weighed before and after the race. A rucksack filled using an army packing list can weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. The 35-pound weight is a military standard, Isler said.
Participants could fill their sack with whatever they wanted as long as it reached the minimum weight.
At around 9 a.m., the runners got into place and started their respective runs. The whole course was done twice by those running the 10k and once for the 5k.
The track began at the ROTC obstacle course in the intramural fields and covered most of the CSUF campus. Cadets were stationed at different checkpoints to hand out water and keep the runners on the right path.
Cadets Taylor Quan, 19, and Denise Martinez, 20, were stationed in the central Quad near McCarthy Hall with a table of water cups. Both enjoyed volunteering for the race and are considering running in it next year.
Throughout the morning, runners could be seen with their heavy backpacks going around the Fullerton Arboretum, rounding the outside of Mihaylo Hall or running across Titan Walk.
Many cadets and runners finished or were finishing their runs at around noon. Finance major Alex Lopez finished first for the 10k with the rucksack and biology major Tyler Hyde was first place for the 5k.
Lopez finished in 57 minutes and was sponsored by his fraternity and sororities on campus. Last year Lopez volunteered for the event. This was his first time running in the Ruck-a-Thon and he looks forward to running again next year.
Hyde, who finished the 5k in 19 minutes and 57 seconds, thought the course was very organized and was thankful that most of it was flat. This was the first Ruck-a-Thon for the 18-year-old, and he’ll most likely do it again next year.