The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Marching Illini sousaphones take on Illinois 5k

The Daily Illini Photo File
The Marching Illini during the 2022 Homecoming parade on Oct. 14, 2022.

The Marching Illini sousaphone section will participate in the Christie Clinic Illinois 5k Run/Walk on Friday to raise money for Crisis Nursery — with their instruments.

For nearly a decade, the Marching Illini have run for Crisis Nursery, a non-profit organization based in Champaign County dedicated to preventing child neglect and abuse. It is the only 24-hour emergency care open the entire year in the county with no fees, and the sousaphones have a goal to raise $7,500 for the organization.

Wilson Shrout, junior in FAA, has run the race throughout his three years at the University — and doing so with a 35-pound sousaphone is no joke.

“My first year I went into it, and I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know how prepared I had to be to do this,’” Shrout said. “I got to the first-mile marker, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that took forever’ … It is just difficult because of the way that you’re holding it. You can’t run as efficiently as you normally would.”

Shrout said around 30 people from the Marching Illini registered to partake in Friday’s events, with around an estimated 20 wearing instruments ranging from sousaphones to trumpets.

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Tim Pfeiffer, freshman in ACES, will be one of those 20, using his middle school cross-country skills to boost him past the finish line. Even with the difficulty lying ahead — possibly a case of shin splints — he’s more excited than scared.

“I’d say there was no convincing (to join the race) honestly … I don’t think I’m going to be one of the faster ones, but as long as I finish the race with the sousaphone on, I’ll be happy,” Pfeiffer said.

Although neither Shrout nor Pfeiffer said they think they’ll place due to the weight upon their shoulders, there are medals given to the top three male and female runners; there will also be top three awards for the 17 divided age groups.

The course begins on Oak Street, runs through the University campus and ends on the 50-yard line of Memorial Stadium, where finishers can receive a medal, food and drink after the race and a beverage at the Fourth Mile Street Fest located outside.

The Marching Illini sousaphones recently uploaded a promotional training video for the Illinois 5k featuring Kendall Bostic, senior forward on the Illinois women’s basketball team. 

“We have some people that run with us that don’t (play) sousaphone,” said Josh Moore, graduate student studying computer science. “We appreciate anyone and everyone who wants to run with us.”

Registration opened on June 26, 2023, and remains open. It costs $50 per person. Virtual options are also open for those who cannot attend in person, and race goodies and finisher medals can be shipped. Goodies include a Bella + Canvas-brand short-sleeve unisex jersey tee in heather green and a drawstring backpack.

The real race starts this Friday at 7:30 p.m. — the sousaphones won’t be hard to find.


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About the Contributor
Chloe Barbarise
Chloe Barbarise, Senior Copy Editor
My name is Chloe Barbarise, and I am a freshman majoring in journalism. I joined The Daily Illini in Fall 2023 as a copy editor and worked my way up to Senior Copy Editor during the second semester. I am honored to have this opportunity and cannot wait to bring you stories complete with AP Style and DI Style edits. When I am not partaking in editing stories for The DI, I am writing, reading or drinking some sort of coffee. I’m very excited to see what lies ahead of us.
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