They still managed to participate despite learning this year’s annual Tiger Run, a 5K and 10K run/walk in support of the South Pasadena High Booster Club, would be far different than in the past.
Instead of the usual 600 to 800 runners and walkers weaving their way through the city’s tree-lined streets, nearly 300 took part virtually, running one of the two courses, many documenting the unusual experience through pictures, before uploading them onto Facebook and Instagram for others to see.
While it wasn’t the live event hundreds had hoped for on account of the coronavirus, race director Jose Zavala said he’s grateful for the support received by those who turned out for last Saturday’s event, all willing to give back.
“It shows the care and concern that so many people have in our community to continue to make the Tiger Run successful,” he said, pleased by the turnout. “All those who took part received a T-shirt, but it was really more about philanthropy and everyone’s willingness to help make a difference.”
Entry fees benefited the South Pasadena High School Tiger Booster Club, with funds going to SPHS clubs, activities and campus sports.
The first half of the 10K covers the same ground as the 5K, mostly along a flat surface, with the second half stretching over a challenging, hilly course in the higher elevations of the city.
“A lot of people were out running the routes, even though there wasn’t an organized live run this year,” explained Zavala. “We saw single runners and families show up, but not having the live event was disappointing for sure. But it’s all about community safety and we understand that. There are mixed feelings about it.”
The wheels are already motion, noted Zavala, to hold the Tiger Run like those of the past – with safeguards in place, of course – should the virus continue to exist next year. “We’re planning on doing it safely,” he explained, “with people wearing masks, staggering the start with small groups of maybe 20 to 25 people. We’d have to reconfigure the finish line and make other changes. There are different things we’re looking at for next year should we be faced with the same situation.”
While he’s optimistic about the future of Tiger Runs, Zavala admits there’s “an emptiness and disappointment” that comes with not hosting the popular event this year.
“Again, the important thing was keeping people safe,” the race organizer stressed. “Even though it was a virtual run, the fact that we had almost 300 runners is pretty phenomenal. It means the community cares about the wellbeing of the Boosters.”
All the proceeds from the 2020 Tiger Run have not been tabulated, but Zavala estimates that between $12,000 and $13,000 was raised, short of the usual $20,000 to $23,000. “So, we’re looking at 50 percent lost revenue, which isn’t bad when you consider we’re right in the middle of a pandemic,” he said. “It has been a tough year. We’re all trying to figure it out. It was a great virtual run and I want to thank everyone who helped make it happen.”
The SPHS Boosters Club continues to take donations from the Tiger Run by going to the sptigerRun.com, and connecting to the registration link.