College recreation departments are a great place to make friends and stay active.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are not on campus and these departments are closed. UW-Stout Associate Director of Recreation, Mackenzie Stutzman said campus recreation is about more than just athletics.
“Our rec departments, we are kind of a home for them to come and socialize, have physical activity and mental stress relief, that kind of thing,” Stutzman said. “So many people meet in our operations, so we are trying to keep them engaged, not only because they are missing that piece, but just the mental stress relief.”
UW-Stout, in partnership with other UW-System schools and the Wisconsin Intramural-Recreational Sports Association came together and created “Run with Rec,” a free, virtual event designed to get people outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Really it was just born to get people active, keep them engaged and try to get them outside and give them something to look forward to,” Stutzman said. “There is a 1-mile, 5k, 10k and then we also have a choose your own distance.”
After signing up online, people are encouraged to run their selected distance, then upload photos to their social media accounts with the hashtags #runwithrec and #wirsa.
“We’ve got some fun virtual race bibs and a virtual t-shirt for people to kind of show off on their Instagram or Facebook,” Stutzman said. “It’s kind of inclusive across the board for people who are newer to running or maybe just started running and then people who maybe want to run something in between that 5k or 10k or something longer.”
Stutzman said the reason for the event was to give students, staff and the community a safe, low-stress and fun way to get outside and move.
“We wanted to have something for people to look forward to,” she said. “So many things have been canceled or pushed back. This is something, regardless of what situation we are under, we would be able to do.”
11 UW-System schools are participating in the virtual event: Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout, Superior and Whitewater.
There are also two universities participating in the event that are not part of the UW-System: Marquette University and Viterbo University.
People have until April 26th to sign up and complete their run. For information on how to get involved in run with rec, click here.