More runs for fun and funds coming to the Elgin area
By Emily McFarlan Miller email@example.com September 8, 2013 7:51PM
Elena Padilla, of Elgin is with the Gail Borden Library running club. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:06AM
ELGIN — The sun streaked orange and pink across the early-morning sky Thursday over Wing Park.
A few cars passed, their headlights sweeping over still-dark Wing Street. A garbage truck rumbled through the park’s parking lot where Team Read, Gail Borden Public Library’s new running team, was stretching before a weekly four-mile run.
“Meditative” is too strong a word, said Ed Herdrich, the team’s running coach.
But, Herdrich said, “If you get early morning or sunset runs, it can really become a nice, quiet getaway. Once you reach the point you’re running 45 minutes or more, you get in a zone where you can relax and relieve some stress.”
You also can do some good, not only for yourself and your body but also for any of the nonprofits, schools, cities and other groups organizing new 5K runs as fundraisers across the Elgin area.
That’s something that’s picking up speed all across the Chicago region, according to Bryan Ganek, road race services and volunteer manager for CARA, the Chicago Area Runners Association.
The 3.1-mile distance isn’t new: 5K runs have been around for a while, Ganek said. But they’re gaining popularity with charities looking for new fundraising events and, amid a “fitness boon,” leaning toward something athletic, he said.
“The reason why a 5K is popular is because you can reach a serious runner ... and you can reach someone who’s never run before,” the manager said.
Some offer prizes for the fastest finishers. Others — such as glow runs, mud runs or color runs — provide a fun, less competitive atmosphere with costumes and without timers, he said.
All offer runners “a lot of fun,” he said.
Herdrich, who lives in Elgin and works in security at Gail Borden, started running 14 years ago, motivated by his health.
“I was feeling like I was out of shape but didn’t have the money for a gym membership. I picked up a pair of shoes I thought at the time were good shoes and started doing a mile at a time,” he said.
At first, he said, it was work. He had to push himself to get out and run. But then, he ran the Elgin Valley Fox Trot in Elgin and the Chicago-to-Peoria relay. He ran to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
After that, he said, “I was really hooked.”
About 10 co-workers began running in February with Herdrich and Team Read, something that grew out of discussions they’d had about the sport at the library. The team now has grown to 17 people, he said.
With the support of the library, the team ran its first 5K together in May at the Fox Trot. Herdrich and technology assistant Elena Padilla of Elgin now are training for the Fox Valley Marathon later this month, which winds along the Fox River through St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia.
On Thursday, Padilla said, she hadn’t run much before that — just a bit as a stress-reliever when she was going to school and working and “felt like I couldn’t do it anymore.”
But Terry Gordon of Oakwood Hills, who works in maintenance at the library, said, “The team is motivation.”
With the success of its running team, Gail Borden is planning its first 7K fundraiser on April 6 along the Fox River Trail that runs between the main library and river. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gail Borden Public Library District Foundation, which funds many of the library’s programs and outreaches, Herdrich said.
It’s a 7K, he said, because of the natural turnaround in the Fox River Trail near Trout Park.
Where to run
The Hampshire High School Art Club is planning its first 5K Color Dash, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 6 at the high school, 1600 Big Timber Road. All proceeds from registration fees from that event will go to both the art club and Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry.
In a color dash, runners are blasted along the route with a different colored powder at color stations. Hampshire High art teacher Laura LaRue ran one this summer with her daughter in Rockford — and for an art club fundraiser, she said, “How much more perfect can it get?”
Usually, LaRue’s students make and sell crafts around Christmastime as a fundraiser, she said. But their profits noticeably dropped last year, she said. That comes as the club’s budget has been cut over the last few years, but she doesn’t want to cut ceramics workshops or field trips to art museums in Chicago, she said.
“I thought, ‘Alright, I gotta come up with something big this spring,’ ” she said.
Hampshire High isn’t the first school to organize a 5K fundraiser: The Gilberts Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization held its first Race for the Gold 5K last year, which will return at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, to the Eagles Club, 325 Raymond St., Gilberts.
Other events that returned for a second year this summer included the Kane County Cougars’ Ozzie’s Home Run and Walk 5K in Geneva, supporting community causes through the Cougars’ charitable arm; and the Smiles 4 Bob 5K in Elgin, raising money and awareness for esophageal cancer. The Rotary Club of Carpentersville-Morning also held its first 5K Run/Walk in August to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township, FISH (Friend I Shall Help) Food Pantry in Carpentersville, and other charities.
And while the Fox Trot has been around for 36 years now, making it one of Elgin’s longest-running events, this was just the second time proceeds from a special two-mile Walk for a Cause went to benefit 18 local nonprofits. Runners could chose one of those nonprofits when registering, including the Ecker Center for Mental Health, the Community Crisis Center and the Literacy Connection, according to Barb Keselica, the city’s special events and community outreach coordinator. About 600 did, Keselica said.
For about the past five years, runners have been able give above and beyond their registration fees to the Crisis Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Elgin, she said.
“We want to make sure our not-for-profits are being taken care of and there’s a sense of community. It was a win-win,” she said.
One run that has been around for several years — the Cal’s Angels 5K to benefit the South Elgin nonprofit, which grants wishes to children with cancer — definitely has seen an increase in interest in its event from runners all across the Fox Valley, according to its organizer Taksina Davis.
A runner, Davis started the 5K run and walk six years ago with about 150 people, she said. This year, she expects 300 to 350, bringing in $15,000 to $20,000 for the nonprofit, she said. That event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, through the Thornwood subdivision in South Elgin.
“You check (CARA’s) calendar, and every single weekend, there’s a 5K or 10K that’s dedicated to some cause,” she said.