USC and UCLA partnered up to hold the fourth annual We Run the City 5K on Sunday in Exposition Park to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
Participants pledged money in order to run for either USC or UCLA, and the school that raised the most money was declared the winner. According to Luke Farnell, manager of LETR and Special Events for the Special Olympics, this allowed fans of both schools that weren’t necessarily affiliated with either school to feel like a part of the rivalry.
“They pick the team that they pledge their allegiance to. So there are fans, alumni, faculty and students,“ Farnell said. “The cool thing about it is for some of us that didn’t go to either school, it’s a good way for us to finally put on that cardinal and gold jersey or that blue and gold jersey. It’s our way to represent our passion at that moment.”
According to the official event website, USC had 1,091 runners and raised $66,884 in comparison to UCLA, which raised $50,084 and had 1,034 runners. USC raised 55 percent of the money, while UCLA raised 45 percent. Patrick Macias, a sophomore majoring in industrial and systems engineering, was proud of the USC turnout for the event.
“There was a big turnout of USC students,“ Macias said. “A lot of red and gold was represented at the event. It was great to see so many different organizations coming out, all to support a great cause.”
The event was mostly staffed by volunteers from student groups from local high schools, as well as students from both USC and UCLA. Paola Lopez-Cordon, a senior at Helen Bernstein High School, decided to participate because she thought it was amazing to see fans of both schools come together for a greater cause.
“I was online one day looking for volunteer opportunities, and I came across this one,” she said. ”It interested me because I know how big the rivalry is. It’s really cool to see both rivals get together and just come together for one event.”
Anthony Tran, a junior at Azusa High School, decided to volunteer because he wanted to be a part of the energetic environment that the event fostered.
“What made me want to get involved with this event was just looking at people’s faces while they run and getting hyped up with all of the fun stuff that we do,” Tran said.
This year the event was held at Exposition Park, but the event’s location switches between USC and UCLA each year. Macias suggested that having the event happen at a neutral site in the future might make the competition more even.
“Last year it was at UCLA; this year it [is] at USC,” Macias said. “But the group that wins is always the group that hosts. So I think that the location greatly affects who wins. Maybe if there was a more neutral location it would be more even.”
However, this did not prevent UCLA students from participating in full force. Lauri Label, a sophomore at UCLA majoring in psychology, said that running in the 5K made her more excited for the game Saturday.
“I wanted to run the 5K because it was a really good cause for the Special Olympics,” Label said. “We wanted to beat USC, and it was getting us pumped for the game on Saturday. It was just a really good experience.”
Label also felt that participating in the 5K made her feel more involved in the rivalry between the two schools.
“It was just a cool thing to know that we were participating in the rivalry a little bit, and it was cool to know that we were representing our school,” Label said.