Kickoff 5K sets new pace

By Gus Bode

When the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce decided to hold the inaugural Saluki Pride Dawg Jog May 7, the light bulbs started to flicker inside Southern Illinoisan publisher Bob Williams’ head.

“That was the first opportunity to say ‘hey, could we do this?’ and how it would be done,” Williams said. “We thought it was great, and earlier this summer Saluki Athletics came together and wanted to work on something like this in the fall.”

The inaugural Saluki Kickoff 5k, to be held  Sept. 3, was born out of those meetings between Saluki Athletics and the Southern Illinoisan, which is helping with the event’s promotion and registration. The morning race coincides with the first SIU football game at Southeast Missouri later that night.


“It’s a good time of year, especially since some people are probably scared of hearing about the ‘freshman 15’,” assistant athletic director Steve Sowers said. “We’re hoping that people are focused on staying health, starting fresh, and this is a great way to get into that mode.”

The race is the second of it’s kind in Carbondale after the Dawg Jog last spring, but Sowers said they plan to make this an annual event in the mold of other universities who have seen interest in their programs rise with their respective 5k races.

Fredrickson is one of around 80 people already registered, Sowers said, but they’ve already seen registration rise in the last few days due to move-in weekend and Sowers said they expect that number to keep growing once more students become aware of the race.

Sowers said the race benefits the Saluki Tickets for Kids program, which allows underprivileged youths in the southern Illinois region to see Saluki sporting events for free.

The race’s set date was one of the roadblocks while planning this event since SIU doesn’t play it’s first home football game until September 24 against Missouri State.

“I’m sure there’s going to be other opportunities with this being the first year,” Williams said. “Maybe in the future they’ll have it on the first home game or family weekend, but it ended up being about when it would work out with the SIU students, faculty and community.”

The race will feature technology that tracks every runner’s progress with a chip inside their shoe or workout gear, Sowers said. He said participants will see themselves cross the finish line along with their race statistics on the video board inside Saluki Stadium.


“We thought that would be a lot of fun since many of us will never have the opportunity because we’re not football players,” Williams said.

The cross country team is helping the athletic department set up the race by assisting at it and planning the possible route, which tentatively starts at Saluki Stadium, circles around Campus Lake and Thompson Point before returning to the Saluki Stadium. Registration for the event can be done on the SIU Salukis website and can be done until they start the race at 9 a.m. Sept 3.