BU groups to aid Mission Waco with food-fitness fundraiser

By Bre Nichols

Ready. Set. Eat a Gut-Pak!

The Freshman Class Council and the Triathlon Club will hold a new fundraiser in March to benefit Mission Waco — the Gut-Pak Run.

The event is open to the Waco community and is co-sponsored by Vitek’s BBQ, which will provide its signature Gut-Paks.

Profits will go to support Mission Waco, a local organization that serves the Waco community by providing “Christian-based holistic, relationship-based programs that empower the poor and marginalized.”

“We would like to create an annual race that is out of the ordinary but definitely fun,” Edmond, Okla., senior Esther Kim, director of the Freshman Class Council, said.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. March 3. Participants will start at Fountain Mall, run to Vitek’s BBQ on the corner of Speight Avenue and South 16th Street — where they will eat a small Gut-Pak — and then race back to Fountain Mall.

The run covers about 2.13 miles. But racers don’t have to race, necessarily.

“The fun thing is that the racers can go at their own pace,” Kim said. “If they want to run to Vitek’s and eat a Gut-Pak and don’t feel like running, they can leisurely walk back. It’s all up to the racer.”

A Vitek’s Gut-Pak includes layers of fritos, chopped beef, sausage, beans, pickles, jalapenos, onions and cheese topped with white bread.

The $20 entry fee includes the Gut-Pak, and the remainder will be donated to Mission Waco’s job training program and the Waco Arts Initiative.

“We love that the race has a deeper meaning by partnering [with] Mission Waco, and we are hoping to help them help the community,” Kim said.

Tyler junior Josh Jones, president of the Baylor Triathlon Club, said the team came up for the idea when its members were looking for a fundraising event to host.

“The Gut-Pak Run was the product of brainstorming during a long 12-hour drive back to Waco after a weekend racing in the Collegiate National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala.,” Jones said. “Our club founder, Matt Ison, had experience in competitive eating/running events through the Krispy Kreme Run in North Carolina.”

Jones said because Vitek’s Gut-Paks are staples in the Waco community, “one of our club advisers, Dr. Paul Martens, brought the idea of incorporating the Vitek’s Gut-Pak into the mix.”

During the following weeks, members of the Triathlon club gave the race a test run.

“With all of them completing it and having fun in the process, Baylor Triathlon immediately knew that we needed to bring this challenge to the public,” Jones said.

It was during that time the Freshman Class Council had been thinking of a similar idea after their adviser, Craig Willie, had also competed in a Krispy Kreme Run. The two organizations decided to team up and make the event happen.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 121 participants were “attending,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

“Many have commented on [Facebook] of the sheer craziness of the race,” Kim said. “Hopefully the racers will be up for the challenge.” Kim said the organizations are hoping for 200 to 300 participants.

“Anyone in the Waco area is able to participate,” Kim said. “It will be a one-of-a-kind experience.”