Cross country team members race in costume for Halloween

Celebrating Halloween together, the Waynesburg University men’s and women’s cross country teams wore costumes for their annual ‘Costume Run’ Monday, Oct. 30. The run is to allow the runners to have some fun after the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships, which took place Saturday, Oct. 28, according to cross country head coach Chris Hardie.

The athletes, along with other students, jogged one lap around the park loop. Since Halloween is just around the corner, most of the runners were dressed in various homemade costumes. Matthew Shinkle, senior sports broadcasting major and captain of the men’s cross country team, said that the event is a way for the runners to unwind after the long season.

“It is an opportunity for us to have a little bit of fun,” said Shinkle, “because running 300 miles in a season, you need to shake it up to something more fun.”

Many creative costumes appeared, such as Forest Gump and the Blue Man Group. At the end of the race, four goodie buckets of Halloween themed food for costumes were handed out to all runners. A man dressed as a woman, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Smurf and an air dancer took the prizes home.

While the main purpose of the event is to enjoy the silliness of running in a costume, the fun run also serves as a break for the runners. Hardie, the men’s and women’s head cross country coach and assistant dean of student services, said that the athletes need these low amounts of miles to keep them ready for the postseason.

“It’s usually an off day for them, so this gives them the opportunity to get together one more time but also not do too much mileage that day,” said Hardie. “Because at this point in the year everybody is kind of burnt out and tired so we have as much fun runs as we can throw in.”

The regular season had just ended for the team. Before the event, the team competed Saturday in the PAC Championships. While the ‘Costume Run’ is always a fun time, Shinkle said that the event is more than just another run around the park.

“It is one of the last fun things we get to do as a team as the season ends,” said Shinkle.

With the ‘Costume Run’ returning for its eighth year, the event has become a tradition. Alumni from the cross country team come back to participate at their alma mater. According to Hardie, the team is all about heritage.

“The cross country team is a tradition team,” said Hardie. “There is a lot of things we do, this is just one of them.”

While the event was an abundance of fun, all things must come to an end. For Matt Shinkle and the rest of the seniors, more than just the ‘Costume Run’ ended.

“We have two senior guys and seven or eight senior girls,” said Shinkle, “So, this is the last time we all get to really have a little bit of fun together with the team as a whole.”