‘A moving campus’: RHA organizes first annual residence run

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) held their first annual 5K Residence Run on March 12.

The RHA is an elected group of students that represent all residents on campus. They usually host one event a year to unite residents. But due to COVID-19, they have been significantly slowed down.

RHA President Em Grove said the event stemmed from “wanting to just give RHA life again.”

“We want[ed] to create an event that was across campus and encompass[ed] all the different residence areas and brought everyone together in a single event,” echoed Matthew Zimmerman, the RHA VP administration and finance.

When looking for specific event ideas, they found it in the students.

“It’s UBC. We’re such a moving campus,” said Grove.

In addition to UBC’s athletic culture, the RHA was inspired by the “Fun Run” episode of The Office.

Grove said the event registered around 230 participants.

As a resident myself, and someone trying to train for a 10K, I thought this would be a good opportunity to see my progress.

The run was advertised with options to “walk, run, race” but when I arrived, I was intimidated by how many people looked like avid runners — some people had fanny packs with snacks and others were midway through structured warmups. I was here for fun.

The event started later than expected, but it gave opportunities for participants to strike up conversations with old friends and make new ones. The extension also allowed more people to join, and my nerves lessened when I saw more casual runners or walkers joining the pack.

When it came for the run to start, the Mario Kart countdown music played, and we took off onto the course.

The route started at the Nest, then down Main Mall towards the Reconciliation Pole. The run passed by Orchard Commons and Thunderbird residences before going through Totem Park, Marine Drive and Place Vanier residences. The route went by Buchanan Tower before passing by tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ, Walter Gage and Brock Commons. From there, runners passed Allard Hall and ran towards the coveted finish line at the Nest.

The course itself was a little harder than I expected. There were sections with stairs, and occasionally, I had to stop for vehicles to pass. However, I got to see almost all residence buildings and there were volunteers along the path to cheer participants on. Grove even stood at the finish line, cheering on every student as they crossed.

There were prizes for the fastest runner in each residence, but that didn’t seem to be why people showed up. The post-race snacks, RHA merch and smiles seemed more important to participants, myself included.

According to participants and organizers alike, the event could be called a success.

“I liked being able to meet a bunch of fellow runners because whenever I'm running on my own, you don't really see everyone,” said Jalene Niguma, a first-year science student.

“We're just really passionate about residents and creating a community,” said Zimmerman.