As the runners approached the finish line on a crisp October morning, a crowd of volunteers and supporters stood on the sidelines cheering them on. Moments later, students from all walks of life took the stage to accept a scholarship, presented in honor of the late Matthew Myers.
For the university and local community, Matt’s Run is an annual campus tradition that celebrates the life of Matthew Myers and raises money for student scholarships. Myers, a communications student, died in 2005 after a car struck him on campus. After his death, his family decided to sponsor an event that would honor his passion for serving others and inspire future students to do the same.
The 8th annual 5k run/walk will be held at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. Early registration is $20 for students and $35 for adults. Registration on the day of the event is an additional $5. The USA Track and Field Certified course takes participants through the university’s scenic landscape, from the residence halls, citrus groves, animal pastures and ending at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.
The scholarship endowment has provided 48 awards since its conception in 2006 and will add to that number this year. Individual donors have given to the endowment, as well as organizations. This year, the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation and RCI Technologies in San Dimas are the major sponsors.
Students, faculty and staff are active participants in Matt’s Run, and each has a special reason for why they participate.
Megan Stang, executive director of University Housing Services, runs the 5k every year. In 2006, she had just started running as a hobby and decided to participate as a way to commemorate Myers.
“It kicked off what is now a pretty big part of my life,” she says.
The run is now a family event. Her husband, Mike, plans to push a jogging stroller with their 4-year-old-daughter, who has participated in the race every year since she was born.
“It’s a great event for so many reasons. It is fun to see everyone come out for the event – faculty, staff and students,” Megan Stang says. “The students who receive the scholarships are so excited! Although the course has its challenges, where else can you run and have pigs snort at you and horses gallop next to you? It is great way to see everyone involved and energized.”
Students for Students
The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity has counted Matt’s Run as one of their annual philanthropy events for four years. “It’s a great experience to run 5 kilometers with hundreds of students gathered at the same place and time,” says Luis Cervantes.
‘Honoring a Fellow Bronco’
Chemical engineering student Nika Hemati didn’t know Myers but decided to participate in last year’s race after hearing about the event. “I was really just interested in the opportunity to get outside and run with my friends,” she says. “It turned out to be so much more than that.”
Noting the scenic route through campus, Hemati says that she plans to run in 2013 race. “You get an all-around awesome experience out of it,” she says. “Not to mention, you’re honoring a fellow Bronco. I love that Cal Poly Pomona has taken on this tradition.”
If You Go
What: 8th annual Matt’s Run 5k
When: Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8 a.m. Check-in begins at 6:30 a.m.
Where: Cal Poly Pomona’s W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.
How much: Early registration $20 for students, $35 for adults. Day-of registration is an additional $5.