You can catch Charlie Cardinal just about anywhere on Ball State’s campus. You can most notably catch him cheering on his fellow Cardinals at athletic events. But have you ever tried to catch him on foot?

This Saturday Ball State will kick off the 18th annual Chase Charlie Races.

According to Chase Charlie’s mission statement, the races were created to complement the university’s other Homecoming activities, provide undergraduate students with a valuable immersive learning opportunity and to educate and prepare the Muncie community for a lifetime of healthy living.

“I think what makes [it] so special is that in the past we've just had our Homecoming 5k, and this year we're working [with] the Chase Charlie people,” Homecoming committee president Hannah Fluhler said. “So, it’s cool that we’ve been able to combine those two events and incorporate Chase Charlie.”

The Chase Charlie Races consist of three events: a 5k, the Kiddie 100 and a virtual race. While the pre-registration deadline has passed, participants can register the day of the event and purchase a T-shirt. Proceeds go to the Sport Administration Fund for Excellence, which provides scholarship and professional development opportunities for high-achieving sport administration students.

“I am most looking forward to all of the great school spirit that is coming up this week,” Charlie said in an email. “This event helps us further our commitment to being great community partners, and I love that the community gives back to us through these races!”

The 5k, the first of the three races, is scheduled to start at 9:15 a.m. at the corner of Wysor and Walnut Streets. It will conclude in The Village just south of campus. Charlie has run the 5k in previous years, and although he won’t be participating this time around, he will be encouraging runners at the starting line.

“I can’t even tell you how excited I am,” Charlie said. “I will be near the start, giving a high five to anyone racing in the event.”

After making an appearance in the Homecoming parade, Charlie will make his way to Scheumann Stadium for the football game starting at 3 p.m. The Kiddie 100 will take place during halftime. Children 13 and under will be invited onto the field to sprint alongside Charlie from end zone to end zone.

In last year’s Kiddie 100, Charlie was bested by the majority of kids who flooded the field for the race. Charlie said his wings help him fly across the field, but sometimes his feet get in the way.

“These kids are faster than lightning! My big feet also do not help,” Charlie said. “I always plan on winning the Kiddie 100, but like I said, these kids are simply too fast!”

If you can’t make it on race day, you can still be involved by running in the 5k or 10k Virtual Race. After plotting your distance, time yourself, and send in your results before 5 p.m. Saturday to see your results on the Chase Charlie website.

For more information on how to register, T-shirt prices and parking, visit www.chasecharlie.com.

Contact Zach Piatt with comments at zapiatt@bsu.edu or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.