The 11th annual Big Chill 5K, a charity race to help kids, and NJ’s second largest road race took place on Sunday morning, Dec. 8th at Rutgers University; the starting line is on College Avenue. It was a very cold morning for the runners and walkers. About 8,300 registered.
A message on the event web site from the Big Chill Committee says: “Thank you everyone for a wonderful event! You have truly made the holidays happy for the children.”
Rutgers Recreation and the New Brunswick Recreation Department manage the event and they are joined by 350 volunteers from social/service organizations on and off campus, each year, on a Saturday morning in early December. (The Big Chill was moved to Sunday this year due to the RU football game on Saturday, Dec 7th.)
Last year, over 8,000 people between the ages of 13 and 78 ran or walked through the streets of New Brunswick after dropping off a new, unwrapped toy (for a child between the ages of 3 and 14) at RU’s College Avenue Gym, which serves as home for the event each year. Over 9,000 toys were collected for the kids this year.
There is no registration fee for participants, nor are they asked to raise money. Each participant receives a long sleeve “Big Chill” shirt when they pick up their race bib. After the race, there is plenty of food and liquids to refuel with and replenish.
“Last year was the biggest and this year equaled it,” said Diane Bonanno, Executive Director of Recreation for RU, while bagging toys, after the award presentation had ended. “I cut it off a day and a half early because we hit 7,000 people and I don’t like it to get to big because I want to make sure that everyone has a good time,” she said. (Participants who didn’t register online could register in person on Friday, Dec. 6th, or on race day morning.) “And we did Friday and same day registration. We did about another 1,300, so there were probably 8,000 registered. I don’t know how many came out on a cold day – but it stretched from the start line all the way down past the library – I could see them.”
Race results can be viewed here.