The Daily Gamecock

Bow Tie Run honors late president

Saturday 5k fundraises for Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Runners from all over the state donned bow ties to race with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia to honor the late Andrew Sorensen, a former USC president.

The first Bow Tie 5k Run was held in front of the Horseshoe on Sumter Street in memory of the 27th university president, who passed away unexpectedly this past spring. Sorensen became a passionate advocate of the Big Brothers Big 

Sisters organization while serving as president at the University of Alabama, where he volunteered as a Big. 

He became a board member of BBBSGC upon moving to Columbia and stayed involved until he left for a position at Ohio State University. Participants were encouraged to wear bow ties to honor Sorensen’s life. He was an avid bow tie wearer and could often be seen biking around campus or playing the trombone or trumpet.

“Dr. Sorensen had a huge impact on kids in the community,” said Ernest Pringle, BBBSGC board member and assistant dean of the USC law school. “This race is to commemorate him and remember all the great things he did for Columbia.”

The race, which opened with a speech by USC President Harris Pastides, hosted 99 competitors ranging from ages 7 to 66. Each runner paid a registration fee, and all proceeds went to BBBSGC.

Cocky also strolled by to entertain children and pass out hugs to every spectator within reach.

Columbia local George Hartrick ran the race with his 9-year-old-son George and 7-year-old daughter Allyssa.

“It’s been a great time,” Hartick said. “We saw that the race was local, and I asked the kids if they wanted to do it and they said yes. Cocky was the highlight for the kids of course.”

Awards included trophies, bow ties and sponsorship paraphernalia. Every participant received a medal while first-, second- and third-place runners won trophies and two bow ties. 

The first runner to finish wearing a bow tie was also given a special gift bag.

First place winner, Tripp Smith, completed the race with a time of 20:10, his personal best 5k time. 

Smith ran under the sponsorship of his mother’s employer Agfirst Federal Credit Union.

“I’m so glad I ran the race. It’s for a great cause, and I had a lot of fun,” said Smith, a junior at Gilbert High School in Gilbert, S.C. “I plan on coming to Carolina, and it was nice to see some of the campus and see all the support from students.”

Big and Little pair Erin Byrd and her little sister Tylah wanted to run the race to help support the organization that has helped them so much. 

Byrd said that Tylah was very excited to complete her first race, and it made Byrd thankful for becoming a Big.

“When I moved to Columbia about a year ago, I wanted to give back,” Byrd said. “Tylah is just as good for me, if not more so, than I am for her.”

First-year marine science student Greg Isales finished sixth in the run and is now considering becoming a Big.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great organization,” Isales said. “Seeing all these people dedicated to helping others has definitely made me consider becoming a Big.”
People interested in volunteering with BBSGC can visit to find out how to become involved.