A morning rain at the outset of Saturday’s Tiger Run didn’t dampen the spirit of some 700 strong who wouldn’t let stormy skies get in the way of tradition.
For 20-plus years, rain or shine, a dedicated group of runners have hit to the streets, taking in the beautiful South Pasadena landscape as a backdrop, selecting either a 5K or 10K route to get a healthy dose of exercise and support the local high school at the same time.
Proceeds from the late fall event benefit the South Pasadena High’s Tiger Booster Club, with entry fees supporting school clubs, activities and campus sports.
“The Tiger Run is a long held annual South Pas event that brings all generations together to support the high school Booster Club program,” explained South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “This could not be accomplished without the dedication of volunteers who continue to selflessly give back to the schools and all students.”
Following the singing of the National Anthem, signaling the start of the races, raindrops stopped, and while the roads were slick, the large contingent of runners navigated their way to the finish.
“Come rain or shine what a wonderful way to bring our community together,” said South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Chair Sam Hernandez. “From our newly-elected mayor to our school board to hundreds of residents and children, it’s a well-run event that many take pride in.”
The newly-elect mayor, Robert Joe, just happens to be a guy in his 70s who runs daily and looks forward to participating in the Tiger Run every year. “It’s a real joy running through the charming neighborhoods of South Pasadena,” said Joe, who became mayor last week for a one-year term after be selected by those on the council.
While acknowledging the Tiger Run is an important annual event that raises much needed funds for SPHS Boosters, South Pasadena City Councilmember Dr. Marina Khubesrian added, “What I like about it is it’s yet another opportunity to open our streets to walkers and runners of all ages and abilities to enjoy while promoting health and wellness and community.”
Support of the run comes from many. The local police department lends a hand by providing traffic control along the two routes. Members of the South Pasadena High School track team help with the logistics, including setting up the start, managing the finish and cleaning up when it’s all over. A number of non-profits, from the local Kiwanis Club to the Girl Scouts, provide food and beverages to fuel the runners.
“The Tiger Run is an opportunity to bring residents and the business community together,” noted South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Ortiz. “But this time, we share a common goal to support our youth, promote wellness and invest in our future. Today’s youth are the key to tomorrow’s success. Young people are the single most important investment in our future. The City of South Pasadena, the SPHS Booster Club and other huge supporters in town use events like this as a bottom-up approach to creating better outcomes for children and youth.”
For South Pasadena High Athletic Director Anthony Chan, the event “exemplifies one of my favorite sayings – It takes a village to raise a child,” he said. “The Tiger Run takes many people to host a great community event that raises money for multiple programs. The Tiger Run and SPHS Booster Club not only generates funds to have athletics function at a high level, but also to helps our clubs and extracurricular activities as well. Having an opportunity to see a huge number of the community come out on a cold morning makes me proud to be a part of the South Pasadena community and to be a Tiger!”
Race categories for Saturday’s event included: Wheelchair (5K Race) 40-44, Elementary (K-5), 45-49, Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-79 and 80-plus. A short Tiger Cub Run for kids was held after the 5k and 10k runs.
Following the 8 a.m. send off from South Pasadena High, participants soon encountered legions of supporters, many waving while others provided makeshift rest stops, passing out cups of water as a measure of support and an effort to cool down those jogging.
As a longtime participant in the Tiger Run, resident Steve Henson said the run “brings that warm and fuzzy feeling of being home, of dashing through or extended home and feeling closer to our neighbors.”
Summing it all up, local businessman and longtime Kiwanis Club member John Vandercook, said the event has created “positive energy by bringing people together from South Pasadena and the surrounding communities. It’s a wonderful South Pasadena High School Booster Club tradition.”