It was a perfect day for the 15th annual race on the College Avenue campus Saturday morning, Dec. 2. The temperature reached a high of 51 degrees Fahrenheit under a beautiful blue sky. A few key representatives of the InfoSeeking Lab were there including Chirag Shah, Matt Mitsui, Anastasia Ryssiouk, as well as yours truly, Liz Smith.
Chirag said, “InfoSeekers have participated in this event for many years and we are proud of it!” Noticed at the race, as well, were Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish “Deba” Dutta, who has been on the job since July 1, and N.J. Governor-elect Phil Murphy.
The only entry requirement was a $15.00 unwrapped (new) toy for a child, ages 3-14. (It makes for a nice swap, as every participant is given the “Big Chill” long-sleeve tee shirt, which would probably retail for about $20.00.) After the race, according to The Daily Targum, the gifts are wrapped and sent to various local organizations, such as the Salvation Army of Bound Brook and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
The race started at 10:00 am, with those who had paid $5.00 to have their timing tracked leading the pack. Something between 7,000 and 8,000 people participated, according to The Daily Targum. The 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) distance is easy enough for those who walked it, and it plays into Rutgers Recreation’s new initiative, “Exercise is Medicine on Campus,” where a more active lifestyle is being promoted to help students focus and manage stress. They recommend at least 115 minutes of exercise a week.
Matt Mitsui traveled light and carried no cell phone, hence no photo, but he reported afterward by email that he had a great time; he said, “The best part of the Chill, of course, is the people. Races are largely a self-competition. But something I like to do every race (and did this time) is find someone at the end to race with towards the finish line. Regardless of who wins or loses, it’s a great way to have fun with a total stranger and to push each other.”
My favorite stretch was a flat scenic loop through Buccleuch Park just before the final push to the finish line. Peer pressure (total strangers cheering) and music always motivates the slow poke.