Annual 5k raises money for student scholarships

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Annual 5k raises money for student scholarships

Photo Courtesy Calvin 5k Spring Classic & Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run

Photo Courtesy Calvin 5k Spring Classic & Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run

Photo Courtesy Calvin 5k Spring Classic & Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run

Photo Courtesy Calvin 5k Spring Classic & Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run

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Last week, the 24th annual 5k Spring Classic, presented by Aspen Investment Management Inc., was hosted by the Grand Rapids and Lakeshore area Calvin alumni networks. Proceeds directly benefited student scholarships to help put the Calvin experience within reach for remarkable students.

Robert Hyde, one of Calvin’s cross-country coaches, was the winner of the race with a time of 16:56:95. Alyssa Penning McElheny, a former cross-country and track runner for Calvin won the women’s division and placed second overall with a time of 17:50:52.

This year the Spring Classic added a handcycle division which had four entrants, with Tom Weaver coming out on top with a time of 15:38:62.

“The event’s purposes are to promote healthy habits and to raise scholarship dollars for Calvin students,” said Michael Van Denend, executive director of the Calvin Alumni Association.

Last year the Spring Classic welcomed over 1,200 participants, raising more than $14,500 for network scholarships.

This year, Van Denend said, “We had a total of 1,188 participants in our 5k. Our Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run, held on the indoor track, drew 86 children.”

The Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run is dedicated to the memory of Calvin professor Karen Muyskens who was an avid marathon runner.

While many people run on a daily basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle, first-year student Laurel Youngquist has decided to use running to improve the lives of hundreds of others.

Youngquist ran the 5k as part of a quest to run a total of 500 miles this year with the intention of raising awareness and financial support to combat human trafficking.

Youngquist, who turned 19 this January, wants to do something significant before crossing over into her 20s. “I asked God to break my heart,” Youngquist says of the decision, “and in many ways, God has broken my heart very specifically for people who are hurting due to human trafficking.”

Using fundraising tools provided by Minnesota-based nonprofit Venture Expeditions, Youngquist is hoping to raise $1,900 (in honor of turning 19) for Run Free, an organization that helps victims of trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Youngquist says that the campaign has opened up the door to conversations with friends and family about the way God is working in her life. And, when she does have the chance to run with friends, Youngquist says she enjoys talking to them about their spiritual lives and feels she is connecting with God by connecting with others.

Since starting to run for the cause in January, Youngquist says she has noticed a change in herself. “I can already tell that it’s changing the way that I talk, which is weird because you wouldn’t think running would change the way someone talks,” she admits.

“But I realize that on the days that I run, I feel better about the rest of my day because that’s time I have away from people and time I have with God.”