Running on the Rock Valley College campus is nothing new. In the 1980s, the college annually hosted a “Run for the Roses” event, but after that event fizzled, over two decades passed before RVC got back in the race.
As part of the college’s 50th anniversary activities, RVC kicked-off a day-long celebration with the first Golden Futures 5K on September 12, 2015. Over 130 runners and walkers participated.
“We thought that was great for our first year and hoped it would only grow from there, but we actually saw a slight dip in our numbers in each of the next two years,” says Dave Costello, RVC’s Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, and coordinator of the Golden Futures event. “But we are doing some things this year that we believe will get our numbers back up.”
One of the most significant things that is different this year is the Golden Futures 5K is part of the Rockford Road Runners circuit of races.
“That was a huge for us,” says Costello. “Having the support of Rockford Road Runners and a direct line to their members should give us a nice boost.”
Other factors that should help increase participation this year include adding WTVO as the event’s official media partner and adding a free Kids Fun Run with RVC’s mascot, Arvee.
“Anytime you can make the event more family and kid friendly it can only help your cause,” says Costello.
Beyond those new enhancements, the things that should make the Golden Futures event attractive to runners and walkers of all ages are the same things that have be
en in place since its inception: A unique race course and a good cause.
While other organizations host runs and walks on the RVC campus, the Golden Futures 5K is the only one that uses the USATF certified course that travels the whole campus.
“What I love about our course is you truly get a running tour of our entire campus,” says Costello. “The course takes you by pretty much every building, the creek, Starlight Theatre. It really makes for a beautiful run.”
More importantly, the proceeds from the event go toward the Golden Futures Scholarship, awarded annually by the Rock Valley College Foundation. In the first three years, over $8,000 has been raised for the Golden Futures Scholarship.
“Over 60 percent of our students receive some sort of financial assistance,” says Costello. “Yes, we are a community college and the most affordable option for higher education in our region, but many students in our community still need help if they are going to pursue an education.”
The Golden Futures Scholarship is just one of many scholarships the RVC Foundation awards each year. In fact, the Foundation annually awards over $250,000 in scholarships.
“This event goes beyond an annual run and walk for the Foundation,” says Brittany Freiberg, Chief Development Officer for the RVC Foundation. “It offers an opportunity to highlight the importance of scholarships at RVC and gives our participants and sponsors a way to help remove the financial barriers that stand between our students and their educational goals. When you read our scholarship applications, you wish you had every dollar possible to make education attainable for every student. This race is just one more opportunity to tell our students and our community members that we believe in them and their goals.”
Shauna Whitmire, the 2018 Golden Futures Scholarship recipient, was able to start RVC’s Respiratory Care program thanks to the scholarship.
“I was struggling financially as a single mother with no family support,” says Shauna. “It has been a very difficult journey for me and I just want to have a good career with something I love to do and so I can provide a better future for my son.”
Registration is open for this year’s Golden Futures 5K, which will be held Saturday, October 6. Registration is $30 for adults, $25 for students, and $15 for walkers. Rockford Road Runners members get a 10% discount. The Kids Fun Run with Arvee is free.
Register now at runsignup.com/goldenfutures.