EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Thousands were on Michigan State University’s campus Saturday morning for the annual Izzo Legacy 5K event.

The race was started by the family of MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo. Each year, thousands gather for the event to raise funds for the Izzo Legacy Family Fund, which supports several local charities.

Izzo himself was at Saturday’s race, sounding off the runners with a pair of hand crash cymbals. With temperatures reaching 80 degrees and plenty of sunshine, the weather couldn’t have been better for the event.

“This is such a blessing. The sunshine, the warm weather, the green grass, the blue skies. It’s just so exciting; much better than last year,” said participant Kristin Randels.

Randels said she has been waiting for the race for months, and that it’s great because it brings people together for one cause — helping others.

“It’s such a great way to kick off spring and just support Tom Izzo and his charities. It’s a great community event and all the Spartans come together and it’s so much fun,” Randels said.

Although the 5K was just for fun, and everyone received a medal today, some people took the opportunity to break their best running times. And to the man that crossed the finish line first, it was a cake walk.

“I’m actually training for a half marathon at the end of May. I think like a lot of the runners out there training for other races as well. So this was kind of like a glorified workout, if you will,” first place finisher Jon Gries said.

Izzo said 2023 has been the best year for the event yet. He said thanks to the overwhelming community support, the Izzo Legacy Family Fund was able to support more than 13 Lansing area charities.

“At first, you know, I thought she [wife Lupe Izzo] was crazy to have so many charities but what I started understanding is it’s not just about the amount of money you give but its the recognition; its to get other people involved with some of these incredible groups,” Izzo said.