Early in the morning, in the shadow of the ‘Shoe, about 500 people gathered outside the RPAC. With the rising sun hidden behind a layer of clouds, the participants of the Blaze the Trail 5K and 2K races kicked their legs, ran in place and chatted with friends to fight off the chilly breeze.
At 9 a.m., a blow-horn signaled the start of the race, and the group took off.
Sunday, the Friends of the OSU Burn Center and the Christine Wilson Foundation presented the second annual Blaze the Trail 5K. The Christine Wilson Foundation was created in response to an off-campus fire that occurred in 2003, resulting in the death of five students.
“There is no better way to memorialize those five young lives than to use their memory, and memory of the fire, as a motivating force for changing attitudes and promoting awareness of this issue,” said Jennifer Parks, race coordinator and occupational therapist at the OSU Burn Center.
All proceeds from the race benefit the OSU Burn Center’s Development Fund, which provides patients with the materials, care and resources they need to recover from their wounds.
When an individual has been severely injured in a fire-related incident, the bills go far beyond the emergency room.
“I work closely with the burn patients on a daily basis for their acute care hospitalization through to their clinic visits, sometimes up to 12 months post-burn injury,” Parks said.
“Most of our burn population have many physical and emotional needs lasting months to years after the initial burn injury.”
Although the organization won’t know for some time how much money was raised, it expects big numbers.
“We raised $6,000 last year from the 5K,” Parks said. “We hope to triple the amount of money we raise to $18,000.”
Many Ohio State students participated, including Kristy Klingenberg, a first-year in animal sciences.
“I like running 5Ks because it makes me feel good about myself, and I like giving back to the community,” Klingenberg said.