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Western runs from the police to raise awareness about drunk driving

Sophomore Jonny Eyre, Winner of the Running From The Police 5K, collapses in the grass after his victory sprint. Eyre had just driven back from a rave in Seattle at 8 a.m. before the 11 a.m. race. Eyre said he would not do another 5K, "Not today, not for a while. I mean, I'll run another R.A.D.D. 5K," Eyre said. "But only if it's R.A.D.D. I'm not a runner." // photo by October Yates

Despite a formal cancellation by university police, about 40 runners still arrived to participate in the first Running From The Police 5K race on Sunday, April 26.

The 3.1 mile race around Western’s campus was put on by Running Against Drunk Driving (R.A.D.D.). The national organization was founded by University of Colorado student Jackson Stewart after a near-fatal car accident during the summer of 2011 before his first year at college.

Since then, the movement has spread across several campuses in the U.S. including University of Colorado, University of Washington, Washington State University and Notre Dame.

Senior and R.A.D.D. representative Jacob Goodman was a close friend of Stewart’s and helps promote the organization's message of responsible drinking.

“His idea was not to do the typical, ‘Mom says don’t drink’ [message].” Goodman said. “It’s more ‘we know you're going to drink, but when you’re going home, take safe precautions and safe measures to get home, not only for yourself, but you won’t be putting other people in danger by getting behind the wheel.’”

Contestants gathered around a table outside the Wade King  Student Recreation Center and were given their racing numbers to pin to their shirts. The race’s track consisted of two laps, one that looped around Old Main, and another around the Communications Facility.

The Running From The Police 5K received its name after R.A.D.D. recruited an officer from the Bellingham Police Department to attend and run with the Western students. R.A.D.D. members decided to create play-on words to attract runners to participate.

Members of the R.A.D.D. organization were sporting T-shirts that read “Drink More, Drive Less” and handed out drawstring bags with the same message printed on them. Inside the bag, runners found a shot glass, a lighter, a beer Koozie and a bottle opener, everything equipped with the R.A.D.D. logo.

Western sophomore Jonny Eyre came in first place and was awarded a shot ski, a ski with multiple shot glasses glued to it. Eyre was surprised at his own victory after having attended the Go Hard Seattle concert series the night before.

“I don’t know how I won; I think it was sheer determination,” Eyre said. “I was just kind of keeping up some how, it was a lot of luck,” he said.

Sophomores Connie Webb and Isaac Newell ran the race together because they enjoy running and wanted to support the cause.

“The course was super confusing, we definitely didn’t do it right,” Newell said. “I don't know if anyone did, but we tried and we got close to a 5K.”

Before the start of the race, runners were shown a map of campus with the route they were supposed to run. R.A.D.D. members also laid out lacrosse sticks across campus to mark certain checkpoints along the way.

“[The race] was not too difficult, just confusing,” Webb said about the course. “We were just kind of following the pack, but people got scattered.”

Western sophomore and R.A.D.D. member, Burch Ault, is proud of the success the organization has had so far.

“It’s not just another club I feel like it’s something everyone has somehow or another been impact by drunk driving,” Ault said.

R.A.D.D. hopes to put on more races in the future and spread its message further across campuses and help prevent more accidents like Stewart’s, Goodman said. 

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