The 3.2 Remembrance Run is, hands down, one of the best events held at Virginia Tech during the spring semester. Held in remembrance of the 32 students and faculty that lost their lives on April 16, 2007, the 3.2 for 32 shows the importance of staying strong after a tragedy.
The annual race is always surrounded by the aura and allure of the beginning of spring. Each year, it is held on the morning of the annual Spring Game, which happens to be the Saturday of Spring Family Weekend, , so it’s a great way to show your parents around. Additionally, a big run the morning of the game gets your blood flowing and burns some of the calories the weekend’s festivities might come with.
Sure, this all sounds great, but what about from a runner’s perspective? First of all, Virginia Tech is a runner’s paradise. Our campus and surrounding area are home to many fantastic trails and runner-friendly roads. There are hills, fields, great views and plenty of wildlife all waiting to be trekked by your shoes and soundtracked by your great running playlist. Whoever designed the route for this 5K must have had all this in mind when they made it because it is honestly one of the best 3-mile runs ever.
It all starts out on the Drillfield, outside War Memorial Hall, with a huge entrance and enthusiastic start. From there, runners are taken around the Otter Pond — I mean, Duck Pond. This is a great stretch of the run because it is a relaxed elevation with little difficulty in the first mile.
After you loop around the Duck Pond, you then run down West Campus Drive toward McComas, and then toward Lane Stadium. This is where the fun part begins: You run down the road toward the Jamerson Athletic Facility, and through the gate to the tunnel. Yes, that’s right — 3.2 for 32 participants get a completely legal chance to run through the same tunnel that the Virginia Tech football team runs through onto the field.
It’s hard to not think “Enter Sandman” when you run through the seemingly endless white tunnel. Don’t forget to jump up and touch the Hokie Stone at the end of the tunnel; countless legends have literally touched that same spot. If that isn’t motivation during the midpoint of a race, I don’t know what is.
Coming out of the opposite end of Lane Stadium, you are faced with a treacherous set of hills. Love it or hate it, this is a perfect challenge in a race like this. If you have no motivation at this point, have no fear at all: This is the hill behind the infamous Center Street neighborhood, always attended by students and families on the morning of a football game.
Gearing up for the best tailgate of the semester, residents and fraternity members line the chain link fence, cheering on everyone making their way up the hills. Much like a water line at a marathon, these fans offer runners refreshing beverages, including beer and bags of wine. This might sound like a horrible idea for someone running a 5K, but you’re on the home stretch at this point, and this is just another reason why this race is so unique and one of the best routes ever.
Coming over the hills and back toward the Drillfield, the rest of the run is smooth sailing with relatively flat surfaces, which is good news if you just filled up on beer. This is the perfect opportunity to race your friends in a final showdown, as there is plenty of room on the road. The track takes you past the library and turns toward Burruss Hall, and the finish line is right there at the perfect spot to make one final dash.
Not only is Burruss Hall a great, climactic finish to the race, it finishes right near the April 16 Memorial, which runners can visit after the event in the victims’ honor. Many of us see the memorial every day, but few get the chance to truly connect to it and honor it. Doing so is one of the most important aspects about being a Hokie, and running in the 3.2 for 32 is a great opportunity to do it.