College kids lace up for Halloweekend 5K

Claire Schoenemann

More stories from Claire Schoenemann


Photo by Marisa Valdez


Back in my day, I was a die-hard cross-country kid. 

When I say back in my day, I really mean two years ago, when I was still avidly running and training for cross country and track almost every day of the week. 

The fact of the matter is that upon entering college, my lifestyle changed a bit, as almost anyone’s does. 

I went from running almost every day after school to having a completely different class schedule, trying to make friends, eating dining hall food and trying to find a so-called ‘passion’ in life to chase after instead of my opponent on the cross country course. 

In addition to this, the ‘going out’ lifestyle sidetracked some of my former Saturday morning runs. 

Despite all of this, when I got the text from an unlikely friend of mine that he wanted to run a Halloween 5K on Saturday morning in the middle of our ‘Halloweekend’ festivities, I was immediately in. 

Picture this: seven college kids roll out of bed at 7 a.m. Some of them are still in their Halloween costumes from the evening before. They lace up their shoes and pick each other up from the various houses they ended up at the night before. 

Registration for the annual ‘Carson Park 5 & 10’ began at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Wisconsin Logging Museum. 

The energy in Carson Park on Saturday morning would cure any college kid’s hangover. Before crowds had even started piling up, the early morning DJ was beyond ready for the race to begin. 

Runners and supporters alike filed into Carson Park, decked out in costumes of all shapes and sizes from gingerbreads to M&M’s. 

As the clock ticked closer to 8:30 a.m., crowds began to close in around the starting line. 

What I experienced on Saturday morning was unlike any cross-country 5K race I had ever run. There was no countdown silence, no lanes for you to start in and definitely none of the intense warm-ups before the race. 

Every single person was excited to be there and ready to participate in the most wholesome and welcoming festivities of Halloween weekend. 

I went into the 5K not expecting to run the whole thing. Some of my friends and I had planned to run and walk as we please, we were just there for fun. 

But when the time came, I ran and finished my first entire 5K since my last cross-country meet of high school. 

Honestly, it would have been hard for me not to. I paced for almost the entire race with my good friend, who was dressed in a Winnie the Pooh onesie.

It’s hard to want to walk a race when kids are cheering for Winnie, who is directly next to you. 

When I crossed the finish line 20-some minutes later, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I can honestly say I didn’t realize I missed in the last two years of my life, which were race-free up until now. 

The simultaneous feeling of running pain, excitement, pride and happiness as I ran through a finish-line chute with music playing and people of all ages in their Halloween costumes was an unmatchable way to start my Saturday morning. 

Not to mention, running around Carson Park with a view of the early morning sun over Halfmoon Lake would brighten up anyone’s day. 

Honestly, running the Carson Park 5K was the best decision I made during Halloweekend. It might even end up as a Blugold tradition. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected]