Millikin’s homecoming is full of activities and events that can bring current students, alumni, and family together, but perhaps none can do so in the way the annual Milli Mile can.
The Milli Mile is a one-mile race starting in downtown Decatur and finishing at the local Fleet Feet on Wood Street. It serves as a fundraising opportunity for the Millikin cross country and track & field teams.
Now, waking up early on a Saturday morning to run one mile on the wet roads of Decatur certainly does not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, and you may be wondering what is special about the event. After all, it is just people running.
While running is not the most exciting thing that one can watch, especially on homecoming weekend, what makes the Milli Mile stand out amongst all the other events is its ability to warm your heart. Every person involved in the event does a great job of making the Milli Mile a welcoming and positive experience all around.
In order to make the event so enjoyable, it needs to start with those organizing the event. Volunteers and competitors alike are greeted by the staff of Fleet Feet early in the morning. They assign tasks and racing instructions to the arriving crowd.
The volunteers themselves consist of members of the Millikin cross country and track & field teams. Their jobs are to line the course on Wood Street and serve as markers at various distances throughout the racecourse.
These athletes also serve as the best cheer squad that mile runners could have. At 8:30 AM, they line as much of the road that a 90-person roster can. Encouraging posters, cowbells, claps, and cheers are all things that runners can expect to see as they push themselves through to the finish line.
Having these Millikin athletic teams show so much energy and compassion for people within the community, especially as they partake in something important to them, goes a long way to building a positive image for the team and Millikin as a whole.
What’s also special about the Milli Mile is the attitude of the competitors themselves. Those looking to run a fast time and try to win can do so for prizes. The course is also mostly downhill and only consists of one turn, which is a recipe for personal best times.
While the hardcore runners can have their competitive atmosphere, there is definitely a place for more casual runners to come out and enjoy the friendly atmosphere as they traverse Wood Street.
Then there are also everyone’s favorite runners: mothers and fathers who run with their children or push them along in a stroller. It is always adorable when the racers get near the finish line and the kids will decide to give it one last big effort to try and beat their parents to the finish, generating a massive cheer from the surrounding Millikin athletes.
You can also expect to see fellow students, public safety workers, and professors enjoying their morning run as students cheer extra loud in hopes of receiving extra credit.
Millikin’s homecoming provides many opportunities for the Millikin community to gather and enjoy different events. While the Milli Mile may not be one of the headlining events of the weekend, it embodies everything that a homecoming event could ask for.