By Jordan Hildebrand
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Running is hard work, and crossing a finish line is even harder. Did you know that runners are encouraged to load up on carbohydrates to power their muscles during distance training? Runners in the United States have access to some of the safest, most affordable running fuel in the world-our food system. Kansas State University students are using this knowledge and a passion for agriculture to create a unique running experience-the Farm 2 Fork 5k.
The K-State Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) chapter will host the 5k race, which is a little more than 3 miles, on April 11th, the morning of K-State’s Open House. The start and finish line will be on Waters Hall lawn, with the route winding through campus. Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m. with all participants receiving a t-shirt.
While runners will enjoy the thrill of the race, they will also have the opportunity to learn about three very different aspects of agriculture: maple syrup, bacon and wheat, all industries that can be found in Kansas. As runners proceed through the route, they will find signs placed throughout the course detailing the production of these delicious items. The three commodities will combine at the end of the race as each runner will receive a maple bacon doughnut from Varsity Donuts, a favorite local eatery.
“We feel like this is a unique opportunity for runners, because, as far as we know, there are no other educational races revolving around agriculture,” said Brooke Harshaw, a junior in agricultural communications and journalism at K-State and a coordinator of the event. “5k races are really trendy right now, and it’s exciting to be able to draw the link with how your food and physical fitness can work together for a healthy lifestyle.”
The event, sponsored in part by Kansas Wheat, is also a great educational experience for the students planning the race.
“I feel like this has been good hands-on, practical experience in event planning,” said Audrey Schmitz, sophomore in agricultural communications at K-State and food coordinator for the event. “Being able to work with sponsors is a valuable skill that I have been able to develop by working on planning the race.”
ACT members hope to make this an annual fundraiser for their organization and will focus on different sectors of agriculture every year.
“Most people equate maple syrup production with areas in Vermont and New Hampshire, but not necessarily northeast Kansas,”said Steve Korthanke, a maple syrup producer in Brown County. “I’m excited that the students are promoting areas of agriculture that are not traditional to Kansas. There are very few producers here, and it’s a time-consuming process, but I’m happy it’s being celebrated.”
Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow is an organization that helps to develop excellent communicators for the ag industry. It’s open to all students who want to focus on sharing ag’s story, with an emphasis on professional development. For more information about K-State ACT and the Farm 2 Fork 5k, please visitkstateact5k.wordpress.com .