SPHS Runners Host a Virtual 5K With a Cause

By Haley Sawyer | The Review

Lindsay Michels and Sydney Morrow seek to raise funds for personal protective equipment for use at local public schools.
Photo courtesy Lindsay Michels

Two South Pasadena High School cross-country runners are going the (social) distance, and they’re encouraging others to do the same.
Sydney Morrow and Lindsay Michels, supported by the South Pasadena PTA Council, are hosting a virtual 5K event to help pay for personal protective equipment, such as face masks, for use at South Pasadena Unified School District campuses when in-person attendance becomes possible. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the district is practicing distance learning to begin the academic year.
“Everyone that I know, including Lindsay and I, we all really want to go back to school,” said Morrow, 16. “We found out that the PTA council was having a fundraiser to raise money for personal protective equipment and Lindsay and I, being on the track and cross-country team — we love to run — we decided to host a virtual 5K.”

Registration is online, and all participants will receive a T-shirt. Unlike a typical 5K, however, the race will have no specific course. Participants can run anytime between Aug. 6 and 8 and choose their own course location. Runs will be self-timed and the results, along with an optional photo, are to be sent to Morrow and Michels.
Although part of the fun of a 5K can be running with others, Morrow and Michels said the virtual race can be a great introduction to running.
“It’s nice because you’re not really comparing yourself to anyone else. You’re not really racing anybody,” Michels, 17, said. “It’s more of a leisurely 5K for fun instead of a full-on competition.”
The two varsity runners have seen plenty of competition while racing for the Tigers. The SPHS girls’ cross-country team was the Rio Hondo League champion in 2018 and came in second in 2019. Morrow also qualified for the CIF state championships in 2019 as an individual.
As they host the virtual 5K, Morrow and Michels have getting back on the course and in the classroom in mind.
“I miss the routine and seeing people every day,” Michels said. “It’s difficult to deal with everything alone, especially since it’s my senior year and Sydney’s junior year, which are big years.”
One of the biggest challenges for the duo has been spreading the word about the 5K, since social interactions have been limited due to COVID-19. The feedback has been nothing but positive, which has helped Morrow and Michels stay motivated.
“For me, personally, I think it’s just been reaching out to people, family, friends, some of my mom’s friends, and they get back to me to tell me how excited they are to do the race I organized,” Michels said. “I’m bringing people to do something that I love, which is running, and that’s been really rewarding.”
Registration information can be found on the event’s Facebook page titled “Go the Social Distance 5K for SPUSD Schools.” The event benefits South Pasadena schools, but anyone can participate.
The deadline to register in order to receive a T-shirt in advance has passed, but participants can still register for the race and receive a shirt after the event. Registration is $25.