by Erin Hampton
Entirely East Lansing writer and photographer
On, Oct. 6, families across Michigan came to East Lansing for the Michigan State University Credit Union’s 27th annual Dinosaur Dash at the MSU Museum.
The flat 5k run, partnered with Playmakers Athletic Footwear & Apparel, is a family oriented event for every age and generates nearly $40,000 to $45,000 for MSU Museum educational programs. Lora Helou, acting director at the MSU Museum, said that it is the oldest 5k in the East Lansing area and largest single attendance for the museum. This year, about 3,500 people were present.
The day started with the 5k race separated into two heats. The first is for runners who can beat 30 minutes, and the second is for all other adult runners. Nikole Brown, a first-time Dinosaur Dash runner whose time was 28:10 minutes, ran with her sons, Kaeden, 5, and Emerson, 2, in a stroller. Although it was her second time racing with her boys, she said it was no walk in the park.
“You don’t remember how hard it is until you do it again,” said Brown, trying to catch her breath after her race.
She said she enjoys races like the Dinosaur Dash for the support from watchers and fellow runners including her sons.
“That is what’s so great about these races is that everyone is cheering you on,” said Brown. “I got my boys cheering me on at the finish line.”
The third race of the day was the museum mile, an untimed race for children 12 and younger. All participants receive a medal for running, but Helou, who has been a part of planning the event since 2000, said that they take the race quite seriously.
“You will see some of the kids are very, very competitive,” said Helou.
After the museum mile was the mini dash for children 6 and younger and finally, the diaper dash for children 2 and younger.
Helou said that the Dinosaur Dash started not only to fund the museum’s educational programs but also to get the museum connected with the East Lansing community.
“We are the Michigan State University Museum, but we also want to strengthen some of those ties with the community and let people know that we are here,” Helou said. “It’s just so great to see so many people here at the museum on a day like this. It lifts us up. It just gives us a lot of energy to see so many people that are here.”
MSU facilities manager and 5th year Dinosaur Dash Event Coordinator Mike Secord said that agreed that the event brings the community together and that it also follows people through their lives and into adulthood.
“It also does bring the community together, by and large, a good majority of the runners and walkers each year are from the greater Lansing, tri-county area and we hear countless stories,” said Secord.
“…One that comes to mind is where the girls first Dino Dash was actually in a stroller because she was under one year old and with her mother pushing her and she went on to eventually do every Dino Dash and become the captain of her high school cross-country team and is now a sophomore here at Michigan State.”
Secord also said that there was a four-generation family of runners this year, a great grandmother, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter.
To put on the Dinosaur Dash, Helou said that MSU Museum facilitators work with Campus Park and Planning to map out a strategic path to keep the race compact and off the streets for a limited disturbance of traffic. The Michigan State University Credit Union is the event’s title sponsor and it provides a grant to help produce it, run it and promote it. The rest of the event’s funding comes from registrations ranging from $5 to $10 for children and $20 to $25 for adults.
Secord said events like the Dinosaur Dash that link the university and the community make the East Lansing community so great.
“East Lansing is a good place to live and MSU is a good place to go to,” said Secord.