by Ella Rubenstein

Written by: Dana Reed

Each year, THON™ volunteers work together to put on the THON 5K powered by PNC. It is one of the first events of the year where THON families get to travel to Penn State and interact with all of the volunteers.  Many of them participate in the race itself, and many more cheer on the runners at various points on the course.  Beginning at the Bryce Jordan Center (BJC) at 11am, the course runs through the scenic Penn State campus, as far as Pattee and Paterno Library, before it ends back at the BJC.   

Penn State students, alumni, families, spectators, volunteers, and many dogs in cute sweaters got up early to make the trek up to the BJC.  Each year, students volunteering for various THON committees work the event, providing entertainment, opportunities to donate or volunteer for THON, and nourishing food for the runners and walkers who completed the 5K.  There was a tent in the shadow of the BJC filled with meals for the runners once they completed the race, as well as food provided by local restaurant Carter’s Table and the Rolling Lion, a staple of Penn State events. 

Many volunteers look forward to this event each year. Alyssa Schmelzle, a senior at Penn State, stated that she was “so excited to be with all of my friends in support of something that we are all so passionate about; the games, the music, and everything else has been so fun!”

In the tent for runners after their race, THON Hospitality Committee Captains and Committee Members (CMs) dished out filling meals for the runners.  These included hoagies (I am from the Philadelphia area and have a certain pride in Wawa, I will always think of them as hoagies instead of subs), fruits like apples and bananas, and other healthy options.  These choices were included for the runners as part of their registration in the 5K, and thus were free.  However, if one wanted more, they could look across the street into the shadow of Beaver Stadium for more options.   

Photo: Lyndsay Surkosky

Near one of the entrances to the stadium stood a Carter’s Table’s food truck with a tent pitched in front of it.  In the food truck, volunteers provided handheld food like burgers, as well as salty snacks.  Under the tent, more volunteers were hard at work making tacos and quesadillas.  All of the proceeds earned went to Four Diamonds.   

I personally tried a chicken taco from Carter’s Table.  It was a delightfully simple creation, flavorful chicken with cilantro, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and a decadent lime crema. It was fantastic. Yallah Taco may have competition; I am now tempted to go to Carter’s Table’s location on my own time.  After a day of walking around the BJC, it was exactly what I needed.  The price was very decent at $5, and I felt better about it as it went to the best cause possible. While I am not a burger person, everyone I spoke to about their burgers said the same, that it was exactly what they needed after a long day in the cold.   

Header Photo: Sarah Lynn DeCarlo