Little Sun, Lots of Fun At Tiger Run

With orange-and-black striped SPHS Tiger mascots in the foreground, runners prepare for the start of last Saturday’s Tiger Run 5K and 10K races through the streets of South Pasadena. Photo by Henk Friezer

About 700 runners of all ages hit the pavement last Saturday morning for the 22nd annual Tiger Run 10K and 5K races through the streets of South Pasadena — and none of them seemed to care that, on this day, the pavement was a bit wet.

The huge crowd that lined the route, including many whole families, didn’t seem to mind, either.

“I’ve participated in the Tiger Run for more than a decade,” newly named Mayor Bob Joe said as he joined runners behind the start line at 8 a.m. on Diamond Avenue, behind South Pasadena High School.

“I always enjoy this event. It feels so good to run through a town of beautiful Craftsman-style homes with my neighbors. It’s so much fun. At my age, I just hope to finish!”

For the record, Joe, 75, did finish the 5K — in 36:42, third-best in the 70-79 age group.

Weather conditions fluctuated from a light drizzle accompanied by gray skies to a heavier patch of rain. But there was a brief moment, mid-race, when the sun poked its way through the clouds, shining down on runners as they neared the finish line and celebrated their own personal victories.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the Tiger Run benefit the extracurricular activities, clubs and teams supported by the SPHS Booster Club. This year’s event sponsors included the Molina family, the City of South Pasadena, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, among others.

Many participants showed up with their families, including local chiropractor, athletic trainer —and Review health columnist — Dr. Adrian Pujayana, who was racing for the second year in a row.

“I also did the Tiger Run eight years ago,” he said. “I love seeing friends, and it’s wonderful having my family with me. We have a team we’re running with and we also brought our 9- and 12-year-olds. It’s great to see so many people here.”

The event was emceed by Bill Buckley of the SPHS Booster Club, who announced that there was a course change in this year’s race. Instead of finishing on the high-school track — construction on the east side is blocking access — the finish line was located in the same spot as the start line on Diamond Avenue.

The SPHS Jazz band performed along the race route at the corner of Rollin Street and Diamond Avenue, while the SPHS cheer squad, members of the Associated Student Body and Tiger mascots cheered on runners as they passed the finish line.

Before and after the run, attendees enjoyed a pancake breakfast served by members of SPHS SkillsUSA, a national career technical education student organization.

More from this year’s annual Tiger Run including Phil Shin’s racing return after transplant can be found here.

Jeffrey Oh, a sophomore at SPHS and a member of SkillsUSA, was serving breakfast at the pancake booth for the second year in a row.

“We’re selling pancakes, sausages and coffee to raise money to send our members to the Annual State Leadership and Skills Conference in April,” Oh said.

At a nearby booth, Kiwanis Club members John Vandercook, Gerry Poulin and Dennis Hetherington were giving away free hot chocolate, coffee and zucchini bread from Shakers Restaurant.

“We’ve been participating in the Tiger Run for at least 20 years,” said Poulin. “As a service club, this is one of our community service projects.”

Added Vandercook, “We love the energy here, the community and seeing lots of people. It’s fun.”

After the 5K and 10K were completed, the Cub Run began at 9:30 a.m. Children ages 10 and under started at the finish line and ran to the end of the street and back — some accompanied by their parents, others on their own.

For the 5K, Owen Bachiero, 14, of Lake Hughes, claimed the top overall spot, was top male finisher and top age division winner with a time of 17:14. Clarissa Hong, 16, of Temple City, came in 14th overall, and was the top female finisher and top age division winner with a time of 19:43.

In the 10K, Aaron Granovitz, 28, of Los Angeles came in first overall and first in his age division with a time of 33:55. Kelly Margrave, 38, of South Pasadena, came in 11th overall. She was the top female finisher and top age division winner with a time of 47:51.

For more information and to see the complete list of results, visit