The Cookie Crumbler: Running, Cookies, Marketing, and Charity

by Schuyler Putt | Editor in Chief

What do you get when you mix casual distance running, fresh dessert, and a group of marketing students? The answer will be clear on a Sunday afternoon in April when hundreds of students participate in West Lafayette’s sweetest 5k.

Fully orchestrated by a student club, the Purdue Marketing Association, the 3rd annual Cookie Crumbler is scheduled for April 12th 2015. The event, a tasty twist on a typical 5k, involves runners eating cookies in the middle of the race. Somewhere near the two mile mark (of 3.1 miles total), all participants are provided with a half dozen fresh Insomnia cookies. After consuming this mid-race snack, the runners complete the final mile, competing to beat friends (and to keep the cookies in their stomachs)!

The event is the brainchild of members of the Purdue Marketing Association. PMA is made up mostly of marketing students, as the name might imply, but also includes boilermakers studying computer graphics technology, computer science, and more. Keshav Bhandari, the current president of PMA, is a junior double majoring in Management and Marketing in addition to pursuing a minor in International Business. Bhandari has been involved with PMA for all six of his semesters at Purdue and is taking the lead on this year’s Cookie Crumbler. He hopes to use his experience to make sure everything runs smoothly while planning and executing the race. “I have done this event two times before, so I have a little more experience,” he explains. “I am trying to delegate the activities of our people, assigning everyone a task.”

Bhandari cites the challenge of coordinating his club’s members for this event as a great experience builder for a student studying marketing or management. “It’s mostly about teamwork and time management,” Bhandari explains. “At our 5 registration days we have several people manning the tables, and we always have to be aware of the next deadlines. Coordination is the most important task for this kind of event.” Registration for the event occurs this week in PMU near Starbucks from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday, in addition to in the Corec West Atrium on Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

But this event is about more than running, eating, and marketing students building experience. Though the particular charity has changed with each year’s Crumbler, the event is centered on philanthropy. In 2015, 60% of the proceeds are going directly to Natalie’s Second Chance, a local, non-profit, no-kill dog shelter. According to Bhandari, this means that participants may be in for a treat even more special than the Insomnia cookies. “The day of the race the organization may bring dogs, which would be really adorable,” he explained. “I think everyone likes puppies.” The other 40% of the profits contribute to the continued operations of the marketing association.

The race, poised to have the largest turnout of any Cookie Crumbler yet, will begin and end near Armstrong Hall with running near State Street and Purdue West in between. “The first year was really successful,” said Bhandari, “but the second one was competing with the cancer run, on the same day.” Bhandari emphasized the importance of spreading out the running events on campus and that this year’s date was chosen not to conflict with other races. “Other than utilizing our sponsors, we are emailing the event information to about 6,000 people as well as boosting our FaceBook posts.”

Included in the $25 cost of registration ($20 when in a group of three or more), participants in the Cookie Crumbler will receive an event T-shirt in addition to their six mid-race cookies (which Bhandari emphasizes do not all have to be eaten during the race). Bhandari explains that his organization is excited about the event and proud because it’s “something that people haven’t really done before.”

The Cookie Crumbler is an amusing marketing experiment and a worthwhile student-run campus event with something to draw just about anyone. “We put a lot of effort into looking for our target market, since we are a marketing club,” Bhandari explained. “We did research and targeted not just athletes and cookie lovers, but also people who are determined and would like to take up a unique challenge.”

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