Longhorn Run attracts record turnout

Janhavi Muppaneni

More than 5,000 people ran in the seventh-annual Longhorn Run on Saturday, the largest turnout ever, director Bridget McLaughlin said.

Longhorn Run is a University tradition which aims to unite UT students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Austin community through 5K and 10K courses starting on Speedway, weaving through campus and ending at the Tower with a celebration.

“After the event, I took a moment to glance at the Main Mall from the Tower steps and was so excited to see so many runners celebrating their achievements and coming together as a university,” McLaughlin said. 

The Longhorn Run Committee partnered with Student Government and Recreational Sports to raise money for SG and RecSports Excellence Funds, which directly benefit student initiatives within the organizations, McLaughlin said. For the first time this year, the Longhorn Run Committee teamed up with the Graduate Student Assembly to involve more parts of campus.

“The Graduate Student category is new this year as an effort to recognize graduate students’ involvement on campus and create a substantial relationship with GSA,” McLaughlin said. 

Kari Whitmarsh, assistant director for the Longhorn Run, said she became involved after joining the Longhorn Run Influencer Program.

“We selected 25 students (for the Influencer Program) to help with promotional efforts and training events,” Whitmarsh said. “They had a larger role in having responsibility of planning specific meet-ups geared toward certain demographics on campus this year.”

Chemical engineering junior Kara Wang ran the 5K for a second time. She said the course was more manageable this year.

“Last year, we went all the way up the nasty incline on Dean Keeton,” Wang said. “This year, there were more but much shorter sections of incline.”

Supply chain management junior Joe Martinez said it was his third time in the Longhorn Run. 

“The weather this year was much better,” Martinez said. “Clear sunny sky and the temperature felt great for a long run.”

Whitmarsh said she wanted to play a bigger role in bringing this campus tradition to life.

“Being behind the scenes of this campus tradition is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced,” Whitmarsh said.

Whitmarsh said the day of the race was filled with chills and emotions.

“Being able to witness the thousands of runners cross the finish line and experience this event that our committee has been working all year for was just a really cool moment,” Whitmarsh said.