The 7th annual Running of the Warriors event saw nearly 250 runners — including members of Turlock and Pitman highs cross country teams — come out to launch the start of the California State University, Stanislaus cross country season.
Although the event's primary purpose is to raise funds for the school's cross country programs, it also serves a another purpose—to get a sneak peak of the upcoming season.
Among the competitors for the 5K fundraiser included senior Aman Hundal.
“It’s a fun run with the community to show them who we are — the Warriors,” said Hundal. “It’s a good way to kick off the season, basically our first race together and we are running with the freshmen and transfers. It shows how the team is standing.”
Pitman and Turlock competed with their full squads, and both teams counted this as their first official meet.
“I think it was a great introduction for our newcomers, it’s an early race and quick and good way to establish it,” said Pitman head coach Sara Smith.
The gun that signaled the start of the race shot off at exactly 9 a.m. Two minutes later, the actual members of the university’s team also darted off, chasing the pack of community and high school runners who had left moments before.
The point of the delayed start is to separate the athletes trying to make the team, from those community members who are running in support of the program.
The athletes didn't disappoint.
“Everyone besides us start two minutes ahead of us,” said Hundal. “Two minutes later we run and compete and try to catch them... that's the gist of it.”
No matter what the outcome, Pitman and Turlock still saw this as an opportunity to get some real practice in before the official season is underway.
“Everybody runs as a team and it’s a good way to keep the team bonded and establish it,” said Smith.
Turlock and Pitman High will scrimmage today at Donnelly Park with the first race set to begin at 3 p.m.