On the bright, crisp fall morning of Oct. 22, Emory University students, parents and alumni gathered at the start line on the Clairmont Campus at 8:30 a.m. This race was so much more than a competition, it was a chance for new students and parents to mingle, for alumni to rekindle friendships, to relish in the nostalgia of being back on campus and for everyone to come together and share their Emory pride. 

The annual event is hosted by Emory Recreation & Wellness and the Emory Alumni Association and fosters connections among current and past members of the Emory community. Senior Director of Recreation and Wellness at Emory April Flint has been involved in planning the 5K for the past 10 years. 

“It brings a lot of people out,” Flint said. “We have students, we have their parents, we have alumni and we see a lot of new faces every year.” 

Runners were greeted and checked in by the warm, energetic Emory women’s soccer team and offered complimentary bagels, coffee and juice while they waited for the race to start.

The women’s soccer team members also cheered on the runners throughout the race, from when the runners took their first strides from the start line at the Student Activities and Academic Center, where they remained to encourage runners in their final stretch of the 5K, as they circled back to the same spot to finish their race. 

“We are here with our soccer team, so we’ve got 10 or 12 girls out here today … and we’re here to volunteer… We have not been part of this event before, but we just showed up this morning,” said Kara Trotman (22C) with a laugh.  “We were told what to do and we did it.”

This race was incredibly exciting to watch, as it was remarkably close. Mike Hasson, a proud parent of a current Emory student, led the majority of the race until the very end when Adrian Glover (20G) passed him at the finish line to finish 0.1 seconds ahead of Hasson with a time of 22 minutes and 26.0 seconds. Hasson finished in 22 minutes and 26.1 seconds. 

This was Glover’s first time running the Homecoming 5K, and his finish time was especially impressive given that he hadn’t ran in a race since 2016.

Hasson was on campus for parents weekend and said he had no idea how close the race was until Glover passed him. 

“It wasn’t close until the very end when he flew by me,” Hasson said. “I wish somebody had warned me that he was on my heels. I had no idea there was somebody behind me.”

When Glover and Hasson crossed the finish line, they  leaned on one another, catching their breaths and congratulating each other.  

Clara Beth LaFollette (24C) was the first woman and first current Emory student to cross the finish line, with a time of 23:03.5. LaFollette is a member of the University’s running club, and this is her second year running Emory’s Homecoming 5K.

In addition to these winners, there were many Emory community members in attendance at the event. Dr. Regina Robinson Bone (95C) came out to run on her old stomping grounds. Bone was part of Emory’s track and field team and was recognized in the Emory Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. 

Matt McSpadden (06C) also returned to campus for the race and has attended many alumni events in his hometown of Nashville. In his first time back on campus in “a while,” he reflected fondly on his time at Emory.

“The whole undergrad experience was amazing—great friends, and a lot of great opportunities and activities, as well as an amazing education,” McSpadden said. 

Another proud Emory alum in attendance was Christina Comrie (07Ox, 09C), an avid attendee at alumni events in her hometown, Washington DC. Comrie said she “adores” Emory and expressed gratitude for the close-knit community it fostered. 

“What I love about Emory is how inclusive it is, you’re around so many intelligent people,” Comrie said. “I started at Oxford and those are my day one friends for life.”  

Many of the runners and attendees at the Homecoming 5K consisted of new students and parents at Emory. Among these were parents Mary and Jay Fisher, who waited eagerly near the start line to support their daughter, Gabrielle Fisher (26C), who was running. 

“She’s here, she enjoys running, so we came out to support her,” Jay said. 

The Homecoming 5K also fostered new friendships. Around the refreshments table, new students and parents chatted away while sipping on coffee. Parents Jorge Garcia and Gosia Telichowska were among the crowd engaging in a lively conversation with their new friend Anne Foster, whose daughter just started at Emory this year. 

“It’s been great,” Foster said. “We just met through our daughters, so we’re making new friends, which is amazing.” 

With a balanced combination of friendly competition with love, support, friendship and a whole lot of Emory pride, this year’s Homecoming 5K provided a time for alumni to reflect on their time at Emory and facilitated new friendships.

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Jordyn Libow (she/her) (25C) is from Greenwich, CT, and is majoring in English & creative writing and minoring in business. Outside of the Wheel, she serves as Public Relations Chair of Liberation Through Education at Emory, and is on the Outreach Committee for Emory's Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach Club. In her free time, you can find her going on Lullwater walks, singing karaoke with friends, writing poetry, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.