by Mehreen Hoque

Written by: Eva Patt and Magdalena Waters

THON 2022 5k continued its tradition of being one of the largest 5k races in Central Pennsylvania, with thousands more participants around the globe. The THON 5k, which began in 2002, has proved to still be a staple in the Four Diamonds culture every year. Starting and ending right before Beaver Stadium, students, organizations, families, and other supporters of THON’s mission run 3.1 miles around Penn State’s campus in hopes of raising money for Four Diamonds, THON’s sole beneficiary. When watching the race, we were encompassed by the wide variety of students and runners representing their organizations, families, and previous THON experiences from colorful shirts to rainbow tutus, to matching Christmas costumes with participating dogs! 

We had the opportunity to talk to the supporters that day and hear about their THON One such supporter, Sotirios Maniatis, was more than happy to share his experience with THON before running the race himself!

Sotirios explained his relation to THON™ stating, “I’m in the Penn State Tennis Club. We always do events like these to help us connect with our families. I love to contribute to reaching our fundraising goal in any way I can. I’m here with a few other tennis players, as well, who were just as excited to run.”

The tennis athlete continued to connect his passions with contributing to THON efforts. “I love to run, not going to lie, it’s like my lifestyle. I love to participate and do anything to support THON.” When asked why he THONs, “To get out here and contribute to events like these. As fun as these events are, they really are meaningful in helping those less fortunate than us. Having fun matters, but the Kids deserve fun too.”

When asked what his favorite song to run to, after a deep contemplation and a touch of hesitancy he responded with “my favorite song to run to would have to be Wants and Needs by Drake.” 

Pictured left to right: Sotirios Maniatis, Maggie Waters, and Eva Patt

After wandering through the crowd for a bit, we stumbled upon a technology captain, Jake Davidson, enjoying the performance of the THON line dance from THON weekend 2022. Jake informed us of his responsibilities for the THON 5k that day which included overseeing the merchandising table and all the software critical for the merchandising website. Jake and his fellow captains also oversaw the “runners’ storage” which housed all the runner’s belongings during the race. Davidson expressed why he is so passionate about THON and the way he connects to it explaining that his mom danced for THON for two years.

“I grew up idolizing THON and knowing it was something I wanted to be a part of,” Jake reminisced. 

Jake explained that THON was the biggest organization he sought to be a part of when coming to Penn State and since has devoted the most of his time to. 

Pictured left to right: Jake Davidson, Maggie Waters, and Eva Patt

Throughout the morning countless volunteers and runners scurried about smiling and chatting with one another about the upcoming race and we were lucky to be able to watch the hustle and bustle of excitement form before the race even begun. The THON 5k is an event filled with energy, hope, and excitement that so many people cherish as part of their THON stories. If you haven’t had the opportunity to make it to the THON 5k yet, make it a point to be there for the THON 5k 2023, whether you’re running or cheering by the sides it’s an experience you won’t want to miss!