Supporting survivors: The 2019 Homecoming 5K recap

Woman racer finishing the HES 5k raceThe 39th Annual Colorado State University Homecoming 5K Race took place during Homecoming weekend on Saturday, Oct. 5, on the CSU Oval. The race was organized by the CSU Department of Health and Exercise Science. Community members, students, children, alumni, and their families enjoy running or walking in this event every year as part of the Homecoming weekend festivities.

The Race

Runners began gathering for race day registration at 6:30 a.m. at race central in the courtyard off Isotope Drive. Runners were provided refreshments, bibs from Fit Cancer to dedicate their run to loved ones, and the opportunity to interact with sponsorship booths.

Department Head Barry Braun welcomed runners on the East side of the Oval shortly before the 7:30 a.m. start time. Kristin Rousom began the national anthem, and the Air Force ROTC Wing Walker Honor Guard presented the colors at 7:25 a.m. to send off the runners. Around 1,000 runners, walkers, and joggers set out with family, friends, strollers and running clubs around the Oval and onto Laurel Street.

The fastest runner, Preston Norris, finished the brand new course in fifteen minutes and nineteen seconds, followed within 20 seconds by Chris Retzlaff and Calvin Banta. Results for the race can be found on the HES website. View photos from the Homecoming Race on the College of Health and Human Sciences flickr page.

President McConnell greeting runners as they finishThe Festivities

Once the runners returned to race central, they were welcomed with a light breakfast and giveaways from the generous 5K sponsors. CSU President Joyce McConnell also welcomed runners as the finished, mingling with groups as they came off the course and greeting them and welcoming them to the Homecoming Weekend. She gave a short speech to mark the beginning of the awards ceremony, noting that the Homecoming 5K has been one of her favorite Homecoming traditions so far as a new president.

Awards were handed out to each age category, as well as a surprise raffle of a Keurig from the ReMax Alliance sponsors.

“The 2019 Homecoming Race was a resounding success with 1000 runners and walkers, excellent weather, a classic start and finish on the Oval and the added bonus of President McConnell meeting and chatting with participants after the race,” said Braun. “We also raised about $25,000 from registrations and our generous sponsors for Fit Cancer, a community program housed in Health and Exercise Science that provides supervised exercise and wellness classes for anyone with a cancer diagnosis.”

Supporting cancer survivors

All proceeds from the race support the Fitness Therapy for Cancer Program (Fit Cancer) in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. The Fit Cancer program is a supportive, group-based exercise program uniquely tailored to the needs of each cancer survivor to combat the deleterious side effects of treatment and to empower participants to engage in meaningful, active lifestyles. Research has shown that cancer survivors who are physically active have greater overall survival rates and quality of life.

Fit Cancer includes individualized pre- and post-program assessments with a certified exercise physiologist, eight interactive, group-based exercise classes lead by a certified exercise physiologist and cancer exercise trainer, discussion sessions to provide participants with the tools and knowledge to exercise safely and effectively on their own, a T-shirt, Activity Monitor, and a program workbook with exercise, community, and educational resources.

“Fitness Therapy for Cancer (Fit Cancer) Program staff were thrilled with the outpouring of support from the 39th annual CSU Homecoming 5K! The funds raised will have a profound impact on the Fit Cancer program by allowing staff to continue increasing physical activity, and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors in the Fort Collins community,” said Heather Leach, Ph.D., director of the Fit Cancer program.  “These funds will provide program resources that directly benefit current and future Fit Cancer participants, and provide HES undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work with the program to gain hands-on experience in exercise oncology.”

Fit Cancer continues to do amazing work in the community and beyond. For those new to the program or interested in more information, please contact Fit Cancer program staff at or 970-491-4653 for more information. Stay tuned for the Fit Cancer program start dates in 2020 by checking the website or by following the Physical Activity for Treatment and Prevention Lab on Instagram and Facebook @patp.lab.csu and @patplabcsu on Twitter.


Thank you to the sponsors of this year’s race, which include CSU Youth Sport Camps, Re/Max Alliance, Triple Crown Sports, the CSU Bookstore, Hewlett Packard, Runners Roost, First Watch: The Daytime Cafe, Karan and Gay Israel, Ren and Sharon Jensen, Bill and Jan Beitz, Barry Braun,  and Jessica and Andrew A. Wright.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.