The Homecoming 5K kicked off Homecoming Day Saturday morning, with alumni, current students and their families running to raise money to
support the Alumni Student Scholarship Fund.
Some runners were dressed in costumes, others were in matching athletic gear, a few ran with strollers and their babies, and still others were a part of APU’s ROTC.
“I have volunteered here for 15 years,” said Holly Tierney, a volunteer at the 5K’s registration booth. “I think this event has been around for a while, and it is a family event for people to come together to have something fun to do.”
President Jon Wallace started off the event by praying over the runners and asking God to remind them that we run a different kind of race in our daily lives.
Following Wallace was one of APU’s most well-known alums, Bryan Clay, an Olympic silver and gold medalist who started the 5K by shooting the gun. He enjoyed coming out to support even though he could not stay the whole time due to his role as the grand marshal at Azusa’s Golden Days Parade.
“Because APU is where I went to school and where I am currently employed, I thought I’d come out and support the 5K,” Clay said. “This is my first endeavor with the APU runs like this, but I have started a bunch of 5Ks before.” Clay said he felt honored to be able to start the event but recognized that it is all about the runners accomplishing what they set out to and supporting them in that goal.
Runners started and finished strong whether they were running to compete or casually walking in support of the cause.
Along with running to support the scholarship fund, there were plenty of incentives to get people to come out and register for the run. The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations webpage promoted the event by offering Oakley sunglasses to the top male and female runners in the alumni, student and parent categories.
The event is not something new to APU and it holds memories for those who have participated in the past homecoming 5K events at APU.
“My sister and my oldest daughter were supposed to run in this together about 20-something years ago, but my daughter who was about 2 at the time chickened out and ended up on my sister’s back the whole race,” Tierney said.
Current students enjoyed running alongside friends, family, and past students all in support of APU.
Christian Sanchez, a junior film major and former cross-country runner who participated in the race said, “I will probably do any 5K that APU puts on. I really enjoy running, and I wanted to prove myself that I could still run and keep in shape.”
There were also children who came out to run with their families, and even APU’s mascot, Freddy Cougar, cheered people on to finish the run.
“They did a great job and I am looking forward to being a part of it next year,” said Clay.