Folks have a lot of reasons for running 5Ks. It’s a challenge to get off the couch. It’s a way to test your fitness without the grueling aspect of a marathon. It’s just flat-out fun to be part of a race. But the best reason to run a 5K is for a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
Rutgers football fans have one such cause. They’ve been with the Scarlet Knights through some down, down times. There was a winless season. There was a year they lost to the worst team in the country and then a lower-level team in successive weeks. There’ve been at least two heartbreaking losses with major bowl games on the line. But the most gut-wrenching day for every Loyal Son and Daughter was on October 16th, 2010.
That Saturday, Rutgers took on Army at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It was a close game in which Rutgers mounted a late comeback. On an RU kickoff late in the game, Eric LeGrand raced down the field and made a jarring hit on Army returner Malcolm Brown. A hit so jarring, in fact, that it left Eric paralyzed.
Since that day, Eric has been a source of inspiration not just for Rutgers, but for the entire country. He refuses to let his injury keep him from his goals. He’s been working hard at rehab for more than five years now. He’s part of the radio announcer team at home football games. He graduated in 2014 and addressed his fellow classmates. He’s written two books and is a constant presence on campus. He’s won the Jimmy V Award for perseverance at the Espys, and he’s the only Rutgers football player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And just this month, during his commencement speech at Rutgers, President Obama said that Eric inspires him.
Eric is such a special and important part of the Rutgers community that it’s only right that fans, alums and, really, everyone do what we can for the cause most important to him. And that’s running the 5K on June 5th at A Walk to Believe: One Step Closer for Eric LeGrand.
This year’s event is the sixth annual walk, and the second year that it’s been a USATF-certified 5K. Last year, runners and walkers raised $82,000 for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to benefit spinal cord research. In 2016, Eric has challenged us to clear $100,000 — and we can do it with your help.
The course begins and ends at High Point Solutions Stadium on the Rutgers campus. It wends around the school’s golf course and affords some pretty views — and it’s flat and fast. Last year’s race brought out almost 200 runners. There are festivities before and after the race, and there are always past and present football stars who are more than happy to take a photo with you. Top 3 finishers in each age group will receive a prize. And no matter where you finish, you’ll surely get a chance to meet and talk to Eric himself.
Eric tells us, “Really looking forward to walkers and runners coming out for my sixth annual A Walk to Believe. Trying to make this the biggest and best one so far. Please help make a difference for the 5.6 million people dealing with paralysis in this world.”
You can sign up or simply make a donation at AWalkToBelieve.org. But it’s a great event for a great cause, so head to Rutgers June 5th..