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ACU’s running club, Forward LENE, had its 2nd annual Light the Night 5K Thursday evening.
The Halloween-themed event began at 8:30 p.m. as Elmer Gray Stadium lit up with festive, colored glow sticks.
About 35 runners showed up to run the Lunsford Trail to support the club.
“I’m glad the girls kept the team up and running,” said Kelti Rippenhagan, former team captain and founder of Forward LENE. “It was a lot of work getting it started, so it is exciting to see how far the team has come. I know they will appreciate the support.”
Rippenhagan, who graduated in May, founded the club last year while training for a half-marathon and felt that it helped having other women do it with her. She saw the need for a women’s running club and set out to make the idea a reality.
When Forward LENE was started, its purpose was to create a team of women that share a passion for running. However, the club has been opened to receive a larger audience.
“We made one big announcement at the race,” said Sarah Matthews, Forward LENE team captain and senior biochemistry major from Abilene. “Last year, Forward LENE was only for women but this year we opened up membership to men as well.”
Members of Forward LENE participate in several races throughout the year. Proceeds from the race went toward race fees for the club.
University Park Apartments joined in to promote the event by offering 10 free registration spots to residents. The first 10 participants to sign up were given a free T-shirt to wear to the event. An entry fee of $10 paid for participants’ registration, a drawstring backpack, glow sticks.
Aside from race freebies, gift cards were awarded to the two fastest male and female runners.
Current and previous club members and officers are excited about the opportunity to expand and look forward to an even bigger turn out at the Light the Night 5K next year.
To be a part of Forward LENE, members must pay membership dues of $10 per semester, which includes a club T-shirt.