Rice Survivor to 5K

Rice Survivor to 5K is a free 10-week training program designed for adult cancer patients, survivors, and volunteers regardless of age, treatment status, or physical ability. Survivor participants run/walk alongside running coaches & volunteer “sherpas” with the ultimate goal of completing a 5K goal race. Rice Survivor to 5K is the first Houston-area "support through sport" program for cancer survivors. Participants will be up to 20 volunteers, 10 survivors, and 2 coaches. Ready to sign up? Please see "Get Involved" below.

Rice Survivor to 5K consists of three components:
  1. Practice – two weekly practices to be held on weekday evenings at Rice University (M/W 5:30-6:30pm)
  2. 5K Race – a community 5K race to take place at the end of the training period (April 8th, 2018)
  3. Awards Ceremony – a celebration the evening of the race, for families, funders, and potential future participants (April 8th, 2018)
If interested in participating as a Survivor or Sherpa, please fill out one of the forms below. We will fill positions on a first-come, first-serve basis up to the maximum participation (10 survivors, 20 sherpas). Your participation will be confirmed via email by January 15th, 2018.

We are searching for additional sponsors to cover program T-shirts ($320), parking for survivors ($480) and running shoes for survivors ($500), as well as provide funding for this program's continuity. If you can't participate but would like to donate, donations may be made online at http://recreationdonate.rice.edu/. Please enter "RUCT Rice Survivor to 5K" in the "Donation For" field. Donations of over $500 will be acknowledged on our T-shirts. Please let us know at rice.university.cycling@gmail.com so we can acknowledge your donation as soon as possible! 

Thanks to early detection, prevention programs, and excellent treatment and follow-up care, more people than ever before are surviving cancer. However, survivorship can leave a host of problems in its wake. Like many challenges that come after a crisis, these are not immediately obvious to outsiders. Even after treatment finishes, physical, emotional, and financial hardships can persist for years. Cancer survivors are also at a greater risk of developing second cancers and other health conditions, leading to a significant uncertainty of the future. Specific challenges often faced by cancer survivors include difficulty finding jobs, economic burdens of costly treatments, and denial of health insurance or life insurance. In addition to logistical problems, emotional burdens including strained relationships and a fear of recurrence may pervade a survivor’s life. Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve physical functioning and quality of life in cancer survivors, as well as decrease their risk for cancer-related death. 

        Why participate?
Nearly everyone is affected by cancer or will be at some point in our lives. This is a great opportunity to volunteer while achieving fitness goals at the same time. Beginner runners can jump-start a passion for running that will lead to a healthier lifestyle, survivors can see an improvement in their physical and emotional well-being, and experienced runners (survivors & volunteers alike) can improve their running.
        What are the dates of the program?
The Spring 2018 program will run from Wednesday, January 24th to Sunday, April 8th. Practices will be Mondays & Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm on the Rice University campus. For a full schedule, see below.

How far is a 5K? 
A 5K is five kilometers, which is just over 3.1 miles. Completing a race of this distance is well within the reach of beginner runners.

What will the training be like? 
Each runner will be given a custom plan tailored to their abilities and goals, which can be altered over the course of the season as needed. The plan will consist of three workouts per week, two of which we will do as a team and one of which you'll do on your own. Workouts will take between 30 minutes and an hour depending on your starting ability. On Mondays, we'll practice at the Rice running track to work on our speed. On Wednesdays, we'll run the outer loop of Rice (the running trail) to work on our endurance. You'll do your third run/walk of the week on Friday or Saturday.

What kind of starting fitness do you need to have to participate?
None at all! Modeled after Couch to 5K, this program will meet you where you are. We will begin and end each workout together, but the majority of the workout will be done at your own speed. Participants from those who can't run a mile to those who already run fast 5Ks will benefit from this program.

What are the requirements and benefits?
Survivor Requirements:
  • Be a cancer survivor of any treatment status or physical ability (currently undergoing treatment is fine as long as doctor clears it)
  • Rice affiliation not required
  • Obtain written clearance from your doctor to participate in this athletic program
Survivor Benefits:
  • A motivating and compassionate group to support you on your journey to restoring physical wellness
  • Free coaching and a customized training plan
  • 5K race registration
  • New running shoes
  • Program T-shirt saying "Survivor", Program water bottle
Sherpa (Volunteer) Requirements:
  • Any physical fitness status -- total beginners to running are encouraged!
  • Dedication to completing the program
  • Willingness to set your own goals aside in favor of helping survivors when necessary
  • Compassion and patience; desire to volunteer
Sherpa Benefits:
  • 5K race registration
  • Program T-shirt saying "Sherpa", Program water bottle
  • A physically and emotionally rewarding volunteer experience

Survivor to 5K schedule

Mary Natoli
I am a 4th year graduate student in the Bioengineering department at Rice. I started running in high school, where I ran cross country and track in Maryland under the leadership of 6-time state championship coach Donnie Mickey. I've continued running as a passion ever since, and now serve as the President of the Rice Cycling & Triathlon Club, where I've coached the running of the sport for the past year. I have a close connection to cancer, having lost my mother to colorectal cancer in 2013. This is the perfect opportunity to combine my love of fitness with my desire to give back to the community.

Brian Ying
I am a sophomore studying computer science and mechanical engineering at Rice. I have been really passionate about sports and fitness since I was young, and was named a National Second-Class Athlete of China. I started training for running and cycling two years ago and accomplished my first triathlon last year with the help of the Rice Cycling & Triathlon Club. Now I serve as the Undergrad Outreach Chair of the club and continue actively participating in it. I believe this is a great chance for me to use my passion for sports to help more people to benefit from it.

Many thanks to the program's current sponsors:
  • Student Activities President's Programming Fund
  • GSA Community Service Grant
  • Rich Family Endowment
  • Jennifer and Purvez Captain

Please email rice.university.cycling@gmail.com with any questions.