Dinosaur Dash draws runners, raises funds
Holt resident Tom Wellh gives a high five to a Dinosaur Dash 5k runner outside Administration Building Sunday morning. Participants could choose to run or walk around MSU campus at the Dash hosted by MSU Museum.
Graduate student Victor Wang stood in a corral of fidgeting runners, all waiting for the gun to go off Sunday morning at the MSU Museum.
Despite the throng of runners ebbing toward the starting line in front of him, Wang said he was not nervous, although he had little running experience.
Wang was among the crowd of more than 1,000 dinosaur fans who convened on campus Sunday morning for the 26th annual MSU Federal Credit Union Dinosaur Dash.
Wang never had heard of the race before this year and decided to run it with a group of his friends “just for fun.”
“I had never heard about it before,” Wang said. “I thought, ‘Why not?’”
The 5K race lining the Red Cedar River was sponsored by the MSU Museum and the MSU Federal Credit Union, or MSUFCU, among other East Lansing businesses. Playmakers in Okemos also provided timing equipment and race results.
MSU Museum Director Gary Morgan said he appreciated the support MSUFCU has given the museum during the race’s tenure. Of the 26 years the race has taken place, MSUFCU has sponsored it for all but the first year.
The number of race participants was estimated to be about 1,500, after race day, late registrations were taken into account, Morgan said. Registrant fees totaled about $25,000, which will go back toward funding programs and exhibits at the museum, he said.
Morgan said the races were structured so serious runners had a chance to race competitively, but families and children also could participate. The competitive race was first, which consisted of runners expecting to finish under 30 minutes, followed by the main group of non-competitive runners and two children’s races in the late morning.
Morgan, who has been museum director for two years, said the sheer number of participants in the race was evidence to the race’s success and credited the clear weather for the high race turnout. He estimated about 200 more people registered for this year’s race than the 2010 event.
Morgan said the race has “entrenched itself” as a part of people’s schedules and more local people have turned it into a regular event.
This year’s Dinosaur Dash coincided with the museum’s “Mask: Secrets and Revelations” exhibit, which showcases masks from around the world. To publicize the mask program, the museum provided dinosaur masks for children to wear during their races, Morgan said.
Graduate student Ben Dantzer said he signed up because the Graduate School to pay for 80 graduate students’ entry fees in the race and provided free T-shirts.
Dantzer, clad in the graduate school’s “Walk for Wellness” shirt, said he has not been running consistently to train for the race, but he still had fun.
“I could have beaten a few people at the end, but I’m happy with my race,” he said.