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Rat Recap | Looking back on the 46th Running of the Rodents

Steve Jones, Audrey Cecil and Amanda Lucas

Another successful Running of the Rodents is in the books.

Jaq Jaq, a white female rat trained by the Social Media Ambassadors team, was the winner of the signature Spalding Derby to end the 46th annual rat races on Thursday, April 12, at the College Street Ballroom, aka Spalding Downs.

“I think she was kind of a sleeper pick, hadn’t won a race (before the finale),” said Spalding freshman Ethan Thornton, a member of the Social Media Ambassadors and also one of the emcees of the event. “At the end, she decided to show what she’s all about and get the quick ‘W.'”

This year’s Disney-inspired rat race theme was Magic Ratdom, and many student and staff groups dressed up in Disney costumes. This year’s races were also a tribute to the late Sister Julia Clare Fontane, SCN, a former Spalding biology professor who created the Running of the Rodents with her lab rats in 1973. She died in February at the age of 97. On Thursday, there was a moment of silence, followed by a round of applause in her honor.

Before the races, university President Tori Murden McClure, dressed as the Disney’s Maleficent in an amazing homemade black costume that included 8-foot-wide wings, led a crowd of about 500 students, faculty and staff  on the traditional Running of the Rodents parade through SoBro.

“This event is what we’re all about – an awesome sense of community and making sure everyone’s included,” Thornton said.

Check out videos and photos of the day, including plenty of folks wanting to pose with new Spalding mascot Ollie the Eagle:

Four students and faculty wear Disney-themed costumes
Students and faculty wore Disney-themed costumes.
Several members of the Spalding financial aid staff dresssed up as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, including a couple with long fake white beards
The financial aid department dressed up like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
A male student and a female student, both wearing gray T-shirts, smile and pose with Spalding President Tori Murden McClure, who wore a black Malificent costume
President Tori Murden McClure and Social Media Ambassadors and rat race emcees Ethan Thornton and Michaela Patton, who’s also the head of the Campus Activities Board.
The Spalding blue and gold eagle mascot spreads his wings (arms) while President Tori McClure spreads the wings on her black Malificent costume
President Tori Murden McClure and Ollie the Eagle.
Three students smile outside during the Spalding rat race parade
Students enjoying the rat race parade.
Two female students, wearing blue nursing scrubs, smile and pose while sitting out on the end of an open hatchback car
Nursing students outside the rat race.
Student body President Chris Muncy and the Spalding blue and gold eagle mascot pose while standing outside in the bed of a pickup truck
Student Government Association President Chris Muncy and Ollie.
A student poses for a picture by sitting in the lap of Spalding's large blue and gold eagle mascot
Ollie and a student
A student poses for a picture by sitting in the lap of Spalding's large blue and gold eagle mascot
Student Cameron Ferguson and Ollie.
A female student poses for a picture by sitting in the lap of Spalding's large blue and gold eagle mascot
Ollie and a student.
The big blue and gold Spalding eagle mascot holds a sleeping baby in its arms
Ollie and a baby.
Spalding blue and gold eagle mascot hugs and poses with a Spalding female student. Both give thumbs up
Ollie and a student.
A white rat climbs of the shoulder of a caring female student, who is also wearing costume mouse ears
One purpose of rat race is to teach students about animal care.
A female student wearing a blue shirt and black shorts hugs and poses with the blue and gold Spalding eagle mascot while both give thumbs up
Ollie and a student