On the morning of Sunday, December 8th, over 8,300 runners and walkers braved the cold New Brunswick temperatures and participated in the 11th annual Big Chill 5k Run/Walk, a charity race to help kids. Instead of requiring a registration fee like most other races, The Big Chill is unique in that participants are asked to bring a new toy for children ages 3-14. These toys are then wrapped and distributed by volunteers to children in need throughout the city of New Brunswick, just in time for the holidays.
Since the first Big Chill race in 2003, participation has grown by leaps and bounds. This year alone over 9,000 toys and 400 coats were collected. Participants are not limited to just Rutgers University students and staff, The Big Chill draws athletes of all different ages and abilities from all over the tri-state area, becoming the second largest race in NJ.
Often times during the holiday season we are all so busy we forget what the season is all about. The Big Chill 5k is a unique and fun way to help kids, while getting in shape too! Many participants run in groups and dress in fun costumes to make the 3.1 mile outdoor course that much more enjoyable.
Not much of an athlete or feeling intimidated? Not to worry! Not only do you have plenty of time to train for next year’s race, but remember what is important: the Big Chill is for fun and for charity! Everyone participating is there to help the kids and to try their best, that’s it! So whether you run, walk, or simply donate a toy, what matters is that you are making a difference in the life of a local child.
Each year the event is sponsored by over 20 restaurants, 30 businesses, and organized by over 300 volunteers. Without these organizations and individuals, the Big Chill could not be possible. A huge thank you goes out to all involved in making this event so successful and positive for the past 11 years.
Fore more information about this and other events, and to view pictures from this year’s race, be sure to check out The Big Chill online, at http://bigchill.rutgers.edu, and like ‘Rutgers Recreation’ on Facebook.
By: Elyse Crotty