Baylor Club Quidditch, GTG Outdoors partner for Mt. McLane 5K

GTG Outdoors was founded by Baylor graduate students , Gabe & Meagan GarMelo. Katy Mae Turner | Photographer

By Mykah Briscoe | Reporter

GTG Outdoors is hosting its second Mt. McLane 5K and 10K, alongside the Baylor Club Quidditch, at 9 a.m. Saturday. The race will begin on the field of McLane Stadium. Registration is available until 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Event Coordinator and co-founder of the Waco nonprofit GTG Outdoors, Gabriel GarMelo, said they wanted to get non-runners involved as well so the race “is kind of like a family community gathering day.”

“We are going to run the race, but also, we’re gonna have a lot of fun stuff for families and other students that come and just hang out and be outside,” GarMelo said.

GTG Outdoors was started in 2021 and works with programs established in Waco to provide outdoor education to youth and their families. GarMelo said the goal is for them to be able to go out and do the activities on their own.

According to the GTG Outdoor website, their main focus is “removing barriers that communities and families face when pursuing outdoor adventure.”

They partner with Mission Waco and Waco Independent School District to provide after school programs during the year, which the money raised from the race will fund, GarMelo said.

GarMelo said the Mt. McLane 5K and 10K came about because they wanted to do a fundraiser and “because our mission is to get youth and families outdoors, specifically in nature and wilderness settings, we wanted it to be something outdoors.”

GTG Outdoors is excited about the event being larger than last year’s race. This year not only is the summit at the end, no longer in the middle, but there will be vendors, food trucks, an inflatable obstacle course and e-bikes brought by Bike the Brazos, GarMelo said.

Alongside the race, Baylor Quidditch will be hosting its second Triwizard Charity Cup on the McLane field. They will play in a tournament to raise money for a charity organization, Baylor Quidditch President and Lubbock junior Caleb Williams said. Last year, the team raised money for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

When Williams reached out to GarMelo, a long-time Baylor Quidditch member, to see if he would be able to attend the Triwizard Charity Cup. They discovered their events were occurring on the same day, in need of a charity to raise for, Williams said they decided to combine the events.

During the race, family and friends who come to support racers will have the opportunity to join in and play Quidditch with the club for a $5 fee that will go towards GTG Outdoors’ efforts, Williams said.

“Even the people that aren’t, either can’t or don’t want to actually run the race, are able to be more involved in the event and continue to grow it,” Williams said.

Baylor Quidditch members will teach the basics of how to play and then games will commence, Williams said. He said “it is a very unique opportunity” because of how rarely students get to go on the field of McLane Stadium.

While the style of play, whether it be tournament style or exhibition matches, will be determined the day of based on the people who want to participate, organizations are able to come and play as a group, Williams said.

“When do you get to play a sport from ‘Harry Potter’ in your life?” Williams said. “So, it’s just a fun, unique experience and you get to raise money for charity at the same time.”

Though it is a race with timing provided, GarMelo said it is supposed to be a “leisurely 5K,” mostly on sidewalks and gravel with water stations throughout. The hardest part, he said, will be the bridge and the Mt. McLane finale, where runners will go from the bottom to the top of the stadium. However, he said runners are able to opt out of it.

“If you can tell yourself and commit to those four stories that you can do it, then I think you’re gonna have a good time,” GarMelo said.

Runners who reach the top will be given a medal that says, “I summited Mt. McLane” and will be able to take a picture with a backdrop of a mountain peak view, which is placed so the Alico building can be seen next to it, GarMelo said.

GarMelo said the race being a blend of on and off campus makes it something fun and different because it’s open to everyone.

“It’s promoting students of all types, walks of life, to come out and also to hang out with community members in Waco,” GarMelo said. “That’s something that I think a lot of students would benefit from.”