Locals, visitors race for campus safety

Tree, plaque in WSU Arboretum honor late track athlete



WSU sports management students planned a virtual 5k race using the MapMyRun app.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Community members gathered Saturday at Mary’s Park in Pullman in support of the Lauren McCluskey Foundation for the inaugural Race for Campus Safety.

The foundation was formed in honor of Lauren McCluskey, who was killed last October on the University of Utah campus where she was a student and track athlete. Lauren McCluskey was a Pullman High School graduate, and her parents, Jill and Matthew McCluskey, are professors at WSU.

“It would be nice if we could come together under better circumstances,” said Alex, who was Lauren McCluskey’s freshman year roommate at the University of Utah. Alex wished to omit her last name to keep the focus of the event on Lauren McCluskey.

Saturday morning’s race was the first in a series of events to raise money for campus safety, animal welfare and amateur athletics, all of which were important causes to Lauren McCluskey.

“This event is helping support a good cause in preventing other tragic deaths from happening and spreading good awareness of how to prevent future incidents like this,” said Regina, one of Lauren McCluskey’s close friends from high school. She also wished to omit her last name.

The run was split into an out-and-back 5K for adults and a 1K for children. Participants made their way from Mary’s Park to the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail before heading back to the park.

“Since Lauren loved running, I thought this would be a great way to get people together and kick off some of our campaign for the Lauren McCluskey Foundation,” Jill McCluskey said.

Over 150 people participated in the race, mingling in the cold at the gravel parking lot before lining up at the starting line at 9 a.m.

“The community support has been amazing,” Jill McCluskey said. “We are just so humbled by all the people who have supported us, and it gives us faith in humanity that so many people care and so many people want to make things better.”

In addition to the race participants, volunteers from Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response were present at the event with their support canines. Renee Piper, eastern Washington and Idaho area coordinator for Hope, said the dogs are trained to respond in high emotion and high-stress situations, such as the memorial race.

After the run, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation hosted other programming to promote causes that were important to Lauren McCluskey, including a free self-defense course in the Chinook Student Center and the dedication of the Lauren McCluskey Cat Wing at the Whitman County Humane Society.

Later in the afternoon, a tree and plaque in the WSU Arboretum, near the golf course, were dedicated in Lauren McCluskey’s honor. Saturday ended with a ticketed dinner at Banyans at Palouse Ridge Golf Course.