The first Stan Calvert Memorial Fun Run will open up the final weekend of Stan Calvert to all Newcastle and Northumbria students for the first time.
The 5k run round the Town Moor won't count towards the varsity competition's overall score, but will be the only event open to any students from either university. The fun run will take place at 11am on Saturday 24 February, kicking off the competition's final weekend.
Registration is open now for any student at Newcastle or Northumbria University; unlike all of the competitive Stan Calvert fixtures there is no requirement of BUCS affiliation and none of the tense negotiations and threatened withdrawals that are so often a feature of Stan Calvert. Newcastle students can sign up for the run at no extra cost when buying their £3.50 Stan Calvert t-shirt through the NUSU website.
The fun run will be held alongside Newcastle University's Athletics and Cross Country Club's Cow Bell Race. Now in its second year, the 5k run is open to members of the public, with teams from other universities also expected to attend.
While both races will be run at the same time and along the same course, the Cow Bell Race has all the bells and whistles of competitive running: officially recorded times, entry fees and prizes for the winners.
"It's a great opportunity for anyone who wouldn't usually be involved in Stan Calvert to be able to represent Team Newcastle during the weekend"
The fun run, conversely, is free to enter for students who buy their official university Stan Calvert t-shirt and is, as the name suggests, just for fun. Runners will still be able to see their times, but will also have the option to appear anonymously on the results if they prefer to keep it strictly non-competitive.
With the bulk of the competition taking place on Sunday 25 February, the penultimate day of the Stan Calvert month marks a mere halfway point in terms of fixtures, so – complete whitewash aside – it should all still be to play for on the Saturday. Rugby league, football and indoor cricket make up the day's competitive Stan Calvert fixtures, but with this action taking place in Gosforth, Kingston Park and deepest darkest Heaton, the fun run offers an opportunity for spectating closer to home. And, indeed, participating, with the fun run the only event open to all students.
Clara Pettitt, Newcastle's Athletic Union Officer and the main organising force behind the run, explained: “It's a great opportunity for anyone who wouldn't usually be involved in Stan Calvert to be able to represent Team Newcastle during the weekend. Hopefully it'll get everyone in the mood for Stan Calvert Sunday when most of the fixtures take place.”