The ninth annual Cardinal Walk will take place this Friday, on March 8 from 11:30 am to 2 pm. Cardinal Walk is a 1.5-mile walk around campus intended to promote health and fitness among the Stanford community. Different from last year, the walk will start in Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation (ACSR) instead of the Stanford Stadium.
Although it has been nine years since the Walk was started, it was initially intended only for faculty, staff and their families. Last year, Cardinal Walk was opened to students as well. BeWell Program Coordinator Karin Hughes indicated that this year organizers are trying to encourage more student participation.
“[The walk is often] led by the Provost of the University,” said Hughes. “Employees and their spouses and children are encouraged to come and join in on the walk. It’s kind of a nice way to kick start the summer season, good weather and to get people out from behind their desks and outside, so now we are including students.”
Hughes also emphasized Cardinal Walk’s push to be inclusive.
“Anyone can do the walk. It’s free of charge. You don’t have to pre-register. Just show up, we’ll give you a shirt and come walk with us,” said Hughes.
While pre-registering might not be necessary, every year the Cardinal Walk has a themed costume contest that participants can prepare for. Last year, their theme was Wacky Hats, and this year, it’s 80’s influenced fitness attire. Winners of the contest will earn $25 Amazon gift cards.
“[Last year] the winner of the [Wacky Hats] costume contest actually created a Stanford Tree hat that was probably like 5 feet tall—it was pretty amazing,” said Hughes. “So [this year] we’re hoping to get some really creative costumes inspired by retro-fitness icons at this event.”
The costume contest and warm up stretches will take place from 11:30 am to noon in the ACSR Erickson Courts, after which the Walk will officially begin. There will be free snacks such as Kind bars and Mamma Chia drinks as well as free sunscreen and a free Cardinal Walk t-shirt given to every participant before the Walk starts.
In an effort by Stanford Recreation to publicize more widely, students can also find their photo on the Facebook page for Stanford Recreation and tag themselves in order to be entered in a drawing to receive free cooking classes.
While publicity is still important to the event, Hughes pointed out that the number of Cardinal Walk participants has been growing every year.
“When we first started the Cardinal Walk nine years ago, we had about 400 people come to the Walk and we were absolutely thrilled with the turnout. Now it’s so grown in popularity that we’re anticipating about 1900 people… So it’s a big crowd this year, there will be a sea of neon yellow shirts all walking around the campus, so it should be fun,” said Hughes.
According to Theo Mitchell, Assistant Director of Marketing for Stanford Recreation, this is a great opportunity for the Stanford community to come together.
“To me the Cardinal Walk is a community gathering event trying to bring all members of Stanford together, whether they are students, faculty, staff or affiliates,” said Mitchell. “It’s a way to come out, be active, enjoy everybody and just really enjoy campus, because campus is beautiful especially on such a nice day… It is just meant for everybody to get together and have a good time and encourage fitness and health.”
Mitchell added that Provost John Etchemendy has also participated in the Walk in the past years and has been a big advocate of the event. According to Mitchell, Cardinal Walk at the bottom line is an opportunity to remind the Stanford community about the presence of health and wellness resources on campus.
“We’re trying to encourage people not only to just take a break but just to utilize all these different resources you have here that’s intended for your health, fitness and wellness,” said Mitchell. “We’re here for you as Stanford Recreation, as BeWell for our employees, as the Health Improvement Program. All these different elements are here for not only just students but everybody.”
Contact Sevde Kaldiroglu at sevde ‘at’ stanford.edu.