‘Couch to 5k’ program gets students up and running

A new Campus Recreation program prepares students for the City 6 5k in November.

This fall, 25 students will meet and train together to compete in a 5k race. For many, this will be their first time ever lacing up for a run.

Campus Recreation kicked off its new “Couch to 5k” program on Sept. 8, which aims to prepare beginner, intermediate and non-runners to participate in the “Philadelphia City 6” 5k race on Nov. 2.

Campus Recreation Fitness Coordinator Anthony Alongi decided to bring the program to Temple in an effort to help students live a healthier lifestyle.

“There’s definitely a need for more students to get active on campus,” Alongi said. “Most of the participants in the program are newbies who may have never participated in a 5k before and others just walk or run two times a week, so the program will be very beneficial for them.”

Nicholas Doran, an International Blue Cross Recreational Center employee, was inspired to assist Alongi with his project because of his love of running.

“I’ve been running ever since I was 15 or 16 years old,” Doran said. “Anthony and I did the Broad Street Run together, so he knew that this program would be something that would interest me.”

Alongi and Doran created handout and lecture materials that will be distributed to participants during the first meeting. The materials will prepare the students for the rigorous training they will undergo for the next seven weeks and will cover topics like injury prevention, proper fueling and how to safely use equipment.

“Nick and I did a lot of the planning starting from nothing, which ended up turning into a nine- to 10-week process,” Alongi said. “We want to have a lecture series first to help the participants get more acquainted with our group running sessions.”

The group meetings for Couch to 5k will occur every week and will be scheduled based on the availability of the participants. Participants are required to provide Alongi and Doran with their running experience, which will determine whether they follow a beginner or intermediate profile.

“We group the runners together based on their responses to our activity history form, which indicates how often they may walk or run,” Doran said. “We start them out walking and jogging at first and progress our workouts and intensity throughout the program so that they will be able to run three miles by the end.”

Doran said that the goal is to have all participants successfully finish the City 6 5k after the end of program.

Steve Young, a director of Campus Recreation and a member of the City 6 committee since 1986, already believes that the program will have a good turnout.

“Anthony came up with a terrific idea,” Young said. “The normal number of participants for the 5k has always stayed a consistent 150 throughout the years, and we’ve never had such a terrific turnout of Temple students.”

The race began in 2002 as a special event to tie together the participants of City 6 intramural tournaments with a charity fundraiser.

“Anthony believes that the students can really do this through fitness preparation,” Young said. “If he gets at least a dozen students, I’m guessing that the Couch to 5k will be helpful, knowing that Temple doesn’t produce a boatload of runners for our 5k. Plus, they will also get healthier too.”

Alongi said that most other universities host their own 5k, but Temple is an exception.

“The need for Temple participants in the City 6 5k was definitely a good starting point, but the main reason that we are doing this is to help students live healthier lifestyles,” Alongi said. “Hopefully after this we can plan to run it again in the future.”

Sienna Vance sienna.vance@temple.edu

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