Even in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, Special Olympics Southern California athlete Joseph Gorin is prepared to Fight On.
Joseph is representing the USC side in the annual We Run the City 5K/10K run/walk fundraiser, which takes the UCLA/USC rivalry and pits the crosstown rivals’ supporters in a competition to see which side can help raise the most funds for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This year’s virtual adaptation of the event is currently underway and runs through Oct. 10.
“I think it’s great that two schools in a big rivalry put aside their differences to help us, Special Olympics, raise money,” he said.
Participants who sign up will run or walk a 5K or 10K (or any other distance) on their own time. Registration starts at $30 and runners will receive an official We Run the City finisher’s medal, a bib number and event-branded mask. For $50, registrants will receive all benefits plus a 2020 Special Olympics Torch Run T-shirt. Runners will record their results on the official website’s mileage tracker.
“I think it’s very cool we can do stuff that is virtual,” Joseph said. “That means we can still raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics.”
Joseph’s support for USC is tied to his uncle, an alum.
In preparation for his run, Joseph has been hiking—although, he is quick to admit that running isn’t exactly his favorite activity compared to the sports he’s involved with such as basketball, bowling and floor hockey.
“I’ve gotten a little bit older,” he joked.
While he misses the thrill of competition, hanging out with other athletes and supporters and “having a good time” in person, Joseph is grateful that other avenues exist to maintain support for the organization.
Sports may be the most obvious aspect of Special Olympics, but the Athlete Leadership Program and other growth opportunities made available to athletes are just as important to Joseph, who is also a Global Messenger.
“We go out to speak to other people, groups and organizations to raise awareness and funds,” he said. “The Athlete Leadership Program also helps teach us if we ever want to become (game) officials or a timekeeper…or even a (bowling) coach, like I am.”
To help Joseph raise money for his fellow athletes, visit his event fundraising page.