Bow ties on parade at 5K race in Columbia

Second annual event honors memory of late USC president

September 29, 2012 

There was no shortage of bow ties at the second annual Bow Tie Run in Columbia on Saturday morning. Runners wore bow ties, dogs sported bow ties, even babies donned their finest in neck wear.

“We have a lot more here in bow ties (this year),” said Heidi Johnson, one of the event’s organizers.

In fact, the small but popular road race has doubled in size since its debut last September. About 250 runners turned out for the 5K run and walk, which started near USC's Horseshoe in downtown Columbia.

For some, the race was bittersweet. It honors the memory of Andrew Sorensen, USC’s 27th president, who was known for sporting colorful bow ties.

“It’s a great way to keep his legacy alive,” said Tommy Preston, who was USC’s student body president in 2006-2007.

Preston, who said he had “no idea” what he wanted to do when he graduated, went on to become Sorensen’s assistant before attending USC’s law school. Getting his law degree was something Sorensen encouraged him to do.

For others, the race was a way to raise money and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a favorite charity of Sorensen’s.

“Big sister” Erin Hansen, of Lexington, was running the race with her “little sister” Tylah, 11.

The two ran the race last year and were aiming to do a little better this year.

“This girl is an athlete,” Hansen said. “The gun went off and she was right out in front the entire time.”

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