As an alternative to the past UVa tradition of “the fourth year fifth,” where seniors would attempt to drink an entire fifth of alcohol before the last football game of the season, the Peer Health Educators and the Leslie Baltz Foundation at UVa have organized “The Fourth Year 5K.” Now, students join together to run or walk a 5k (perfect for UVa’s notoriously sporty student body) instead of blacking out and puking on the hill at Scott Stadium. But running a 5k with all your friends could turn out just as embarrassing as puking on the cutie checking your ID at the game if you don’t prepare. So get ready, get set, go!
1. Yeah That’s a Thing I’ll Do
The Fourth Year 5k always finds itself on the list of things to do before you graduate. You see people in last year’s shirts and know it’s coming, but it seems so far away until registration starts and slaps you in the face. If your roommate has a 4Y5K 2016 shirt and you see an increase of the already substantial morning joggers flying past your window, it may be time to pull out that registration email.
2. I’m So Going to be Ready for This
Let the jogging begin! A few weeks ago everyone in my apartment suddenly started coming home with red faces, running shorts and sneakers. The weather had turned cool, and it was time to start #fourthyearfivekprep. I’m a terrible jogger, so I asked my roommates to jog with me. Peer Health educator and UVa junior Lauren Welch runs a New Year’s 5K every year with her dad. “When I actually start running and when I’m running with my dad it’s a lot nicer because he helps me set a pace,” Welch said. Even though my neighbor’s initial enthusiasm evaporated when our heat wave struck, those three two-mile jogs I went on will definitely give me strength to cross that finish line right, right?
3. I Must Be First
Register online or zip over to the Whispering Wall to pay cash and save a dollar, but do it quick. This race is open to all students, but only the first 1,500 runners to register get a t-shirt. “This year’s shirts are dope. It’s our silver anniversary and the official reopening of the rotunda, so we went with a really simple design of the rotunda in silver ink on navy dry-fit long sleeve t-shirts,” Peer Health Educator and UVa senior Emma Kyono said. “My boss agrees this is our favorite t-shirt we’ve ever put out.. [and] they’re going fast,” While the experience and the Leslie Balz Foundation are well worth the $11-15 dollar donation, a snazzy t-shirt to add to your collection only increases your incentive to donate. Another day t-shirt, one day longer you can wait to do laundry.
4. This is Overrated
When you stand in line to get your 5k packet, you receive a number and it all sinks in. “Can I really even do this?” you wonder as you think about how 5K means over three miles at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. You stare at that $10 bill and realize… that’s four drinks at survivor hour. But don’t forget where your money and your support goes when you run. “I think Vivian Baltz, Leslie’s mom really captured the essence of the race when she said that ‘this is not the race where we tell students not to drink. This is the race in which we ask this university community to never leave its students, friends, roommates or random bus conversationalists alone, especially in high risk situations,'” Peer Health Educator and senior Tori Weprinsky said. So grab that silky t-shit and let your confidence be restored.
5. Where’s My Crew?
Why make this 5k only about running? Your second priority after registration should be meeting people and bonding with your class. Even if your best friend is an underclassman, don’t fear. You can still be in this together.”The 4th Year 5K welcomes all kinds of participants. Our walkers might want to recruit a few buddies to ‘run’ with; 5K’s are always more fun with a group of friends,” Kyono said. Plus, you need someone to snap some candid action shots of you to post in Insta. Pics or it didn’t happen.
6. How Can I Prep But Not Jog?
Since I hate jogging, I’ve been trying to find more ways to build up my strength (or at least get my blood moving a little). With Daylight Savings giving me that extra morning energy, I get up early and walk to class. There’s nothing like clumping up the hill on 14th street to get your glutes working. Also, my apartment’s started a GroupMe of all our semi-active friends. We all get together and play soccer or volleyball as a way to get moving as a team, instead of attempting to power through on a solo jog. Or get your heart pumping with daily walks to the fridge…for salads of course.
7. Down To Business
Many students “run” the 5K just for fun, but don’t be afraid to be in it to win it. “Our more serious runners should check out the course map (on our website and FB page) and familiarize themselves with the turns. There will be plenty of cheerleaders, signs and chalk marking but it always helps to know the course yourself,” Kyono said. You wouldn’t want to turn down the wrong road and shorten the race now, would you?
8. OMG The 5k is Tomorrow
Don’t think you’re totally screwed just because you haven’t jogged all week and the 5k is tomorrow. You can never be too late to set yourself up for a good day. “If you want to run the 5K, make sure you are well hydrated and had a good dinner and breakfast with some protein and carbohydrates,” Weprinsky said. Even the most put together crew benefits from this advice. Pro-tip for an easy way to get that cardio in: walk the long way home.
9. Today’s the Day
8 a.m. is obscenely early and you can’t even hit snooze on your one day to sleep in. Or you’re completely hung over and still in last night’s clothes. But whose judging? “Two hours before I’m really excited and I can already feel my heart beating,” Welch said. Make sure to eat a protein-filled breakfast, hydrate and lace up those running sneakers you never actually run in. Time to let your adrenaline take over.
10. Fourth Year F–k It!
When you’re out there running, letting the wind breeze past your face, let all your fears go and just have fun. “You do not have to be a runner to participate. Tons of students and community members walk the race. No matter how you want to participate, come out and be a part of the tradition,” Weprinsky said. Even when you feel yourself fading, keep strong. “Around mile two it starts to hit, and I want to ask how far we’ve gone, but I don’t because I think it would be too disheartening,” Welch said. Forget the time, forget the distance and walk or run with your friends for a good cause.