By Brittney Fleshman
The ninth annual Matt’s Run at Cal Poly Pomona was held on Saturday. Both runners and event volunteers gathered to celebrate the life of student Matthew Myers, who died after being struck by a car on campus in 2005.
A 20-year-old communication student, Myers was also a runner and had a passion to serve others. To carry on his legacy, his parents Kevin and Chris and sister Jenna teamed up with CPP’s administration to create this 5K marathon. The proceeds from the event go towards scholarships given to students in need.
“What makes this event so special is the way that the students and the university community have rallied around a student that was killed by an accident here on Kellogg Drive,” said President Michael Ortiz, who participated in the run. “It shows how much people care about each other on campus.”
Students, faculty, staff and community members ran and walked through campus, and Billy Bronco and the CPP cheer team encouraged them to make it to the finish line. Volunteers were on hand to pass out snacks and water bottles.
“I thought it was fun,” said Robert Balcorta, a third-year computer information systems student and race participant. “It’s a tragedy what happened to [Matt], so it’s good to have something to remember.”
Balcorta participated for the first time this year, and plans to sign up again next year.
The scholarships are offered to students who had similar values as Myers, including academics, community involvement and moral and religious motivation.
“The goal of this event is to raise money for scholarships for students [with] traits and characteristics that Matt had, including his academic standing,” said Rachiel Lucero, CPP’s director of events and special projects. “He was a regular guy, not a 4.0 [student].”
Jenna Myers was sporting a Wonder Woman outfit to support the run’s superhero theme, as she ran through the finish line for the first time. Previously, she had walked the course.
“Matt didn’t know specifically what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to help people,” said Jenna Myers. “So when he passed, we created this event with Cal Poly to help students like Matt who maybe aren’t the best student [and] don’t get straight-As, but they have good hearts and they want to help people. This run to me personally means different things. It’s a reminder of what I lost, but it’s also a reminder that good things can come from really bad things.”
The 5K’s course began in Parking Lot F at 8 a.m., and went through the scenic parts of campus, including the Residence Halls, the citrus groves and the animal pastures. The race ended at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, where the top finishers from each age category were recognized.
The Myers family also presented the scholarships to the selected students and the Myers Cup to the most spirited race team.
The winners of the Myers Cup get their group or club name engraved on a plaque that is displayed in the Bronco Student Center year-round.
“[Matt’s Run] has brought tradition to the campus and an awareness of pedestrian safety,” said Lucero. “That’s why we have the raised sidewalks now.”
Myers’s parents actively participate in the event every year, and were proud to be able to offer help to students.
“The beginning of this event was from the loss of our son, so it’s very much a way for us to be able to continue Matt wanting to help people.,” said Chris Myers.
“We could do it in an academic setting and provide some funding for students who are having a hard time and have gone through some obstacles.”
Ten scholarships of $700 were given Saturday, and over 60 scholarships have been given in total.
“I think we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to do,” said Kevin Myers, after presenting the scholarships.
A hot dog barbecue organized by Greek Council concluded the event at 10 a.m.
Results from the race are available at www.mattsrun.org.
Raul Carillo / The Poly Post
Matt’s Run 2014
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