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Running with the pack

Northwood held its sixth annual Timberwolf 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Feb. 14, bringing together runners of all different ages in one fun-filled event.

When the event began at 8 a.m., participants followed a path leading down Wolf Trail and Portola Parkway in a series of hills and turns, then reached a roundabout where they pivoted and returned to Northwood’s campus to cross the finish line.

“This is not an easy course, and when you see these people running hard, it’s a lot of fun to watch them be successful,” said chorus teacher Zach Halop, who has commentated the race for the past six years. “I like the enthusiasm in cheering for people as they run on through and just watching them smile.”

A large variety of Irvine’s community braved the course, ranging from kids under eight years old to parents pushing strollers. However, the bulk of the participants consisted of Northwood students, especially those involved in Northwood’s sports programs.

“This is a little easier than cross country, but it’s still not what you’d call ‘easy,’” said senior Matthew Terres, who was the fourth participant to finish the race.

As participants crossed the finish line, their running times were recorded by Gemini Timing microchips tied to their shoes. At the end of the course, runners and walkers were greeted by cheering bystanders and two tents stocked with fresh fruit and water.

Following the race, worn-out runners queued in front of the gym where volunteers served free Rita’s Italian Ice. Inside the gym, other refreshments were served, including tacos and nachos from Tacos & Co. as well as watermelon aqua fresca from La Sirena Grill. Later, an awards ceremony took place, in which the top three runners from each age and gender division were awarded medals.

“I love the way the community comes together in this event to support not only our athletics, but also to support Northwood in general,” said Halop. “I think that’s a really positive step.”