One student’s plan for FAU’s Homecoming 5K Run/Walk

Emily Bloch

Connolly is a certified personal trainer as well as a group fitness trainer at the FAU Rec Center. Photo courtesy of FAU.

Sporting a T-shirt that reads DOn’t quIT and wayfarers as she walks down the Breezeway, Erin Connolly, a senior exercise science and health promotion major, hosts FAU Campus Recreation’s Get Rec’d TV. Get Rec’d is a new weekly YouTube training series that gives Rec Center updates along with interactive fitness challenges for student viewers.

But when she’s not training the student body, she’s training herself.

“She’s quite honestly a beast,” Ava Kwasnieski, a senior business major and co-worker said. “She’s a really hardcore worker. Really hardcore with what she does.”

Cross training, tempo runs, garage runs and 400 meter runs are only a few of 5-foot-9 Connolly’s daily stunts these past few weeks.

In training for the Homecoming 5K Run/Walk this past Sunday, Oct. 21, Connolly set aside a five week training regimen. The run was held at the Track and Field Complex, located directly behind the FAU Arena and east of the FAU Softball Stadium. The annual event, also known as the “fun run,” continued the school’s partnership with the FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

All event proceeds benefitted the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) Office, which provides assistance to people with autism and related disabilities, according to the Homecoming schedule. “We help them by providing expert support, training and consultation” Ali Cunningham, assistant director of CARD, said.

This was the fifth annual 5K Run/Walk. Last year, over 600 FAU students participated. This year, Cunningham was hoping for even more. “This 5K Run/Walk is the kick-off event to Homecoming week,” she said. “So I believe its a pretty big part [of Homecoming].”

According to Cunningham, the 5K run/walk has raised approximately $11,000 to 18,000 in previous years for CARD. Our goal this year is to reach and exceed $20,000” she said.

A kilometer equals 0.62 of a mile. So a 5K race is 3.1 miles long. Despite her intense training for the event, Erin Connolly is not a runner. “I am not, nor have ever been, a competitive runner. I was a competitive swimmer all of my life and running is something I have recently gotten into over the last two years,” Connolly said. “I run consistently, and I like to have fun with it. I run around campus and along the beach all the time.”

Connolly is a certified personal trainer as well as a group fitness trainer. She specializes in strength, weight loss, endurance and swim training according her personal training profile on the campus recreation website.

If you’re ever trying to track Connolly down, bets are on the Rec Center’s StairMaster, according to her co-workers. “When we think of Erin Connolly, we think of fitness,” Facility Supervisor and Membership Specialist Ali Levine, a junior secondary education for social science major, said. “You always know if you want to find her, you’ll find her on the StairMaster most likely.”

In preparation for the race, Connolly also monitored her diet. “I am being very conscious of what and when I eat. I make sure to eat complex carbs about an hour before I train to make sure I am fueled and training at an optimal level,” she said. “And I replenish with both carbs and proteins after training. You never want to try and run without being properly fueled.” Connolly would eat a banana or a granola bar before a workout and either fruit with almond butter, trail mix or a protein bar afterwards.

Another run under Connolly’s belt doesn’t come as a shock to her co-workers at the Rec Center. They see her running around campus in the mornings. Helping CARD’s event in the process only serves as an added perk. “Just for fun,” Connolly said. “I like to do events and races periodically to keep me motivated to train.”

“Erin’s awesome. She really exudes a love for fitness,” closed Levine. “She knows what she’s doing.”

The Homecoming 5K Run/Walk, held in participation with CARD took place this past Sunday, Oct. 21.