The Run the World 5K will be expanding to Florence this summer, the first time the race is offered outside of the United States.
Kristin Stasiowski, assistant dean of international programs and education abroad for the College of Arts and Sciences, described the progression of expanding the race to Florence.
“This year we have had a huge transition from what was once just a 5k walk/run of Kent campus in September, to being a much larger project,” Stasiowski said.
After the Run the World 5K had over 500 participants in September, Stasiowski wanted to expand the event to regional campuses. She also wanted to include other important programs, the most prominent being the Florence Center in Italy.
“There will always be a Kent run in the fall, a Stark run in the spring, and now we’re adding to it this year with the Florence Center run in the summer,” she said.
This event will be a fun run and will only be open to Kent State Florence Summer Institute students, faculty and staff.
“It’s our hope in the future that we can open the run like the regular runs at Stark and Kent to the entire Florentine Community and to the other 47-or-so American university programs that are already in Florence,” Stasiowski said.
There are typically around 5,000 American students that go to Florence each summer, Stasiowski said. She also shared how this race is perfect for Florence due to its health and fitness centered climate.
“Florence has a robust running and health and wellness scene, and typically their events are very well attended,” Stasiowski said.
There are currently over 200 Kent State students attending the Florence Summer Institute this year, as well as a large amount of faculty members.
The race will be held on Wed., June 7 in the early evening, and it offers the opportunity for those students and faculty to join the Run the World 5K team as they run through the main streets and cobblestone roads of historical Florence.
Bradley Mueller, a higher education and student personnel graduate student, described the benefits of attending the 5K race.
“This is going to take place the first week they arrive, so this is the way to be acquainted with the faculty, staff, students and possibly Florentines,” Mueller said. “This is a good way to get to know each other and start making those life-long friendships.”
When students register for this event, they will be entered into a raffle for a $500 scholarship to be used immediately during their Florence experience.
“The winner of the scholarship can wake up on the morning of June 8th and realize they are the winner of a $500 scholarship, and they can possibly go to Paris, Rome or Venice for the weekend,” Stasiowski said.
Students do not have to attend, walk or run the race. As long as they register they have the ability to win $500.
“My hope is, of course, that every student at the Florence Summer Institute will register for the event because it’s a great opportunity for them,” Stasiowski said. “It’s also a chance for them to understand how they can exercise and enjoy running in a city like Florence where it might seem intimidating.”
Haley Smith, a sophomore managerial marketing major, said she is excited for the event.
“I’m already planning on running the race, and I think it’s a great way to get acquainted with campus and to get to know the people I’ll be studying abroad with,” Smith said.
The official course map is still being worked out, but students participating in the race are guaranteed to see a couple of historic monuments, Stasiowski said.
Demand has been the driving force behind the expansion of the Run the World 5K. The event is called run the world, so to be only running in Kent, Ohio, doesn’t make much sense, Stasiowski said.
“Expanding the Run the World 5K to where Kent already has a footprint around the world seems like a natural progression of what we had initially conceptualized for this particular race,” she said. “Because Kent State really does ‘run the world’ in the sense that our students have the privilege to benefit from the programs we offer around the world.”
Eryn Gebacz is the international students and issues reporter, contact her at [email protected]