While cash prizes and competition may be the focus of runners in November 1st's Texas A&M International University Dusty 5K Run and Walk, the real winners will be students in need of student scholarships.
Now entering its 9th year of running, the Dusty 5K is one of the University's most important student scholarship fundraisers and attracts runners and walkers from throughout south Texas and northern Mexico. Some 68% of TAMIU students receive financial assistance to attend the University.
This year, the "Dusty 5K" hopes to attract greater participation by professional runners, said organizers TAMIU coaches Tarvish Felton and Sandra Forestier.
"We're responding to requests from many runners throughout the area for a competitive event that will afford them a great running opportunity in advance of some major regional races, which also appeals to their desire to help our students to benefit from scholarships," explained Felton, who coaches the University's men's basketball team.
Forestier, the University's women's soccer coach, said that the pleasant, South Texas climate and highly competitive nature of runners in this area is a real draw.
"They know that Laredo has produced and will continue to produce some quality runners and they want an opportunity to compete with these runners. When you add in our usually ideal weather, it shapes up to be a great day for runners and a great benefit for our scholarship program," she explained.
Cash prizes will be awarded in the professional category for both women and men in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Prizes range from $200- $500.
Amateur runners and 5K walkers will still form the core of the event, said Candy Hein, vice president for institutional advancement.
"Running or walking the Dusty 5K is a strong alumni tradition here and one that we continue to encourage. The Dusty 5K has become a real family event and a chance for alumni to network with fellow graduates, visit with former faculty and get caught up on the University's growth and development," she explained.
Entry fees paid on or before Oct. 27 are as follows: professional runners, $25.; amateur runners, $20; 5K Walkers, $10. After Oct. 27, entry fees are $35 for professional runners; $30 for amateur runners and $15 for walkers. All participants will receive a special TAMIU Dusty 5K T-shirt.
Races will start at the campus on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 8 a.m. Late registration for the event will be possible on the day of the event, beginning at 7 a.m.
Corporate sponsorship for the event this year includes the McPherson Medical Center.
For registration and additional sponsorship opportunities, contact Hein at 326.2175 or email@example.com. A downloadable application form is also available online at the University's web page at www.tamiu.edu
For additional information, contact Felton at 326.2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Forestier at 326.2901 or email@example.com
TAMIU office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.