Merna ASE

Cold temperatures for 2016, but seasonal for any other year, mild winds and greatly appreciated sunshine greeted the 2016 Merna ASE (Another Stupid Event) crew. Following the run, folks enjoyed cold beverages, good food, great cookies and the 2016 version of the infamous ASE mixed drink. Great regrets for those who missed this annual tradition. Look for another chance to enjoy the ASE experience in February.

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ABC#123, for Boys & Girls Club

ABC #123 on November 12 generated an amazing $876 in donations for the Boys & Girls Club. Thanks so much to all 48 participants for your support and for all the great food and fun. The $876 donated this year is easily the most of any of the nine ABC runs for the Boys & Girls Club. The grand total for all nine runs is now $5,223.

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It was a great new venue, thanks to Stacie and Pat Sheridan for doing such a wonderful job of hosting!  The choice of running courses added a sense of adventure. To make sure runners knew where to go, Pat printed maps, marked the course with red and yellow ribbons, and personally led one of the three running choices. The choices were: 5-miles on pavement, 2.5 miles on pavement, and 5 miles on grass.

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ABC#123 also included door prizes, an auction, and a water bottle flipping contest.
The door prizes were awarded to Annette Lobdell (a pin-on compass) and Dave Ploense (an ABC shirt).
The auction was a cool ceramic art piece donated by Erin Furimsky. Lisa Sparks was the high bidder. Thanks, Erin and Lisa for giving the total donations a nice boost.
The top two in the water bottle flipping contest were Carrie Mack and Kevin Fahling.

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ABC Run #124 to benefit the Adopt-A-Family program will be held on Saturday, December 3 at the home of Lisa and Jay Sparks.  We hope to see you then.

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ABC Run #122, for Heartland Head Start

Super event at Sugar Grove Nature Center: 71 participants donated an awesome total of $1,590 to Heartland Head Start which will be used to upgrade their playgrounds! In our ninth run for Heartland, we easily topped the 2006 record of $698. Thanks so much to everyone for your support and a special thanks to Shady Hollow Trail Runners for the $500 donated in return for volunteering at their Evergreen Lake Ultra trail race. Several ABC runners and friends of Heartland Head Start spent a fun 5 hours volunteering. Volunteers included Deb Schumann, Brett Leifheit, Sharon Cochran, David & Darlene Weber, Meg & Merlin Anderson.

Thanks so much to our hosts: Angela Funk (Director, Sugar Grove Nature Center), Whitney Chesher  (Outreach & Communications Specialist at Heartland Head Start), Sharon Cochran (member of Friends of Heartland Head Start), and David & Darlene Weber (members of Friends of Heartland Head Start).

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We had a great mix of ABC run veterans and newbies. Among the newbies was a group from the Be Strong gym. Thanks, Drew Witted, for encouraging your group to join us. It was an inspiration to see Matt DeMatteo power his conventional wheelchair to a PR distance of 4 miles.

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The menu was awesome as usual with casseroles, coffee cake, bagels & cream cheese, fruit, cookies, snack items, coffee, orange juice, apple juice and so much more. With so many food contributions, I was unable to keep track of who brought what. Thanks to DoubleTree hotels for adding the batch of cookies.

The funds raised by all nine runs for Heartland add up to a heartwarming total of $6,239.   Thanks so much to every participant for your fellowship, sharing food, and generous financial support.  Your support helps Heartland Head Start achieve their mission to “enhance the lives of children and families by providing a comprehensive child and family development program for 3-5 year old children and their families who meet the federal guidelines in McLean and Livingston counties in Central Illinois.” For more on Heartland Head Start, visit http://heartlandheadstart.org/

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ABC Run#121, for Seedling Theatre

ABC Run #121 on August 13 was a great success. An amazing $1,035 was donated to Seedling Theatre thanks to the generosity of everyone involved. Thanks much to: (a) Laurel & Larry Schumacher for being awesome hosts. (b) 51 attendees (and 5 other contributors) that donated a total of $1,035. (c) Often Running, for donating several cool items for our drawing. (d) Connor Byrd, for donating four dozen free range eggs for our drawing. (e) Seedling Theatre for donating tickets for an upcoming performance to our drawing. (h) everyone who brought the delicious food! Too many to recall but Jeff Crumrine won the harvest basket that Laurel Schumacher gave at random to one of the food contributors.

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Seedling Theatre is a wonderful theatrical program for children & young adults & adults with disabilities, as well as their able bodied peers. Each year Donna Anhalt, the Seedling Theatre director, sends a heart-felt note in appreciation for all our support. This one says it best: “I don’t know quite how to say thank you in the most appropriate manner, so please just know from the bottom of my heart how grateful the entire Seedling Families are for what you are doing for their children. I listen to their stories quite frequently about how Seedling has affected their lives.  It is always heartwarming, occasionally teary-eyed and sometimes even funny. Believe me, these families are overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors for Seedling Theatre and sincerely appreciate your efforts.  So, from the depths of my heart…..thank you”.

ABC runs just keep rolling along. After 121 ABC runs, all of us who support ABC runs have collectively raised $106,225 to help 27 different local children’s charities. Seven of these ABC runs have generated a total of $9,045 for Seedling Theatre. Thanks a million to everyone who has supported these extremely worthwhile causes.

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Profile on Mike Eckhoff

Profile on Mike Eckhoff

How many years have you been running? 
I started regularly running at some point in the winter of 2011/2012.  Somewhat on a whim, I decided that I’d try to run a half marathon (Illinois), so I started training around that time frame.  I had run some 5k races before that, but never could get myself to be motivated enough to get out and run more than a couple miles at a time.

Who inspired you? 
Like many others, my doctor (or some less than stellar results from a blood test).  I knew that some changes needed to be made, and that was around that winter of 2011.

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I thought that I’d take more advantage of the group runs and such than I have been able to, but with a couple really busy kids, I run when I can and use my membership to discount race entries.

Tell me about your first race.
Even though it wasn’t technically my first race, I’ll say the Illinois Christie Clinic Half Marathon in 2012.  I had trained, and felt pretty good about things going in, but I still had no clue what to expect when I actually went through the race.  I really had no plan, and was a thought I could bank time early, since I felt good, and adrenaline could keep me going.   Let’s just say that didn’t quite happen, and the last few miles were pretty rough.

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
I like the 12k Lake Run, because of the scenery around the lake, and the post-race party.

What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
For a couple reasons, I’d say the 2015 Illinois Christie Clinic Half Marathon.  I PR’d that day, which was exciting, and it was in conditions that I could not imagine running in.  Everyone’s heard the stories (if you weren’t there), but it was miserable.

Do you have a favorite route that you run? 
I like to mix things up and keep things interesting.  I’ve done a lot of playing around with map my run, and like to find ways to stay close to home, but not duplicate a path that I’ve done.  There tends to be a lot of zig-zagging in my Garmin maps, but to me, it’s better than an out-and-back route on  a straight road.

Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Just this summer, I was running with my daughters and a middle school cross-country team from B/N.  I was helping to chaperone the faster group, and there was one young man that bolted out, and ran ahead of the group.  I was towards the back, because another boy was struggling a bit to keep up, and I wasn’t going to let him fall out of sight.  The leaders knew where to stop, and decide whether or not to keep going out, or head back to the start.  As I got there, a couple of them were talking about whether or not they were continuing (The turnaround point was about 1.75 miles from the start, so heading back would be a solid 3.5.)

Well, the young man that led the whole way asks if he can keep running, and I say “Sure, I’ll go with you”.  So I sent the other kids back to the start, and we take off to a point unknown.  I immediately asked him how far he wanted to go, and his response was “As far as your legs will take you”.   I chuckled to myself, and I didn’t say anything to him at that point, but I made sure to point out how far we’d be going if we turned around at 2 and 2.5 miles.  He said he wanted to go another .5 miles and make it a total of 6 for the day.  I let him control the pace for 5 of the 6 miles we ran that day, but I think that he learned a valuable lesson that day about challenging old dudes that you really don’t know.

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Most of my volunteering has been done at middle school track and cross-country meets.  It’s a lot of fun to see the kids working hard and making such progress from the beginning of the season to the end.

What are you training for right now?
Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in a few races before this, but right now, I’m focusing on the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.

Mike on the finish line of Monumental Marathon.

Mike on the finish line of Monumental Marathon.

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ABC#120, for St. Jude on 7-17-16

ABC Run/Walk #120 was hosted by Meryl & Mike Brown on July 17. An awesome $2,000 was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital thanks to the generosity of 29 attendees plus 14 runners that could not make it but donated anyway.  The donations will help members of the “We got the runs” team meet or exceed their fund-raising goals.  More importantly, the donations help kids by helping St. Jude provide free lifesaving care and also helping St. Jude continue its groundbreaking research.

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The venue was great: nice location, home, backyard, and pool. The weather was good for running but a storm blew in to end my plans to hop in the pool after eating and socializing.

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The course was a relatively ordinary adventure heading West on the Constitution Trail to the Audubon Gardens (2.5 miles from Meryl’s home). The menu was really great. Sorry I was so busy eating that I didn’t catch the names of all the food providers. Thanks to Meryl & Mike Brown for hosting and all who provided additional food.

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There were two special events at this run. One was the awarding of the traveling “ABC Top Dog” trophy to Melinda Cheek for her great support for ABC runs throughout the years. The second was having the opportunity to wish Kelly & Keith Bowers well as they move to Memphis. We will miss them greatly but look forward to seeing them now and then either here or in Memphis. You know, that Memphis Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K is a nice event.

We’ve held a total of fourteen ABC runs for St. Jude and the total of those runs is $16,367.  Thanks so much to everyone for all of your support!

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Profile on Jennifer Williams

Profile on Jennifer Williams

How many years have you been running?
I’ve been running, off and on, for about 5 years. I’ve been running more consistently for a little over two years.

Who inspired you?
Well, I have to give the credit to my husband, Andy Williams. When you live with someone that eats, sleeps, and breathes running, after a while you decide to see what all the fuss is about! But he’s great about letting me do my own thing with running, which is a really good thing because we are very different runners.

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I joined the Lake Run Club two summers ago after I joined the Heat Wave program. It’s such a great group of people and a wonderful running community that I had to join the fun! In addition to Heat Wave, I’ve also done Catch the Wave a couple times and I’ve become involved in Kids Run for Fun. This summer, I’m back at Heat Wave as one of the group leaders. (Shoutout to Group 2! Woohoo!) I love that the Lake Run Club has such a variety of programs and training for all levels. It took me a long time to actually consider myself a runner, but I’m perfectly happy with my 12 minute miles.

Tell me about your first race.
My first race was the Komen 5k in 2011. (I think…but it may have been 2012.) I don’t remember a ton about it to be honest, except that my feet were killing me for several days after the race. I had terrible shoes, but rectified that pretty quickly with a trip to Often Running.

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
I think the Lake Run is probably my favorite race, in large part because it got me to start running more. I ran it for the first time in 2014, kind of on a whim. I hadn’t been running very much at all, but decided that I just needed to go out and do it – a week and a half before the race. And I survived. After that, I joined Heat Wave and that kept me going through the summer. Then, when Catch the Wave came around next winter, I joined that to get ready for the Lake Run. Thank goodness Lake Run Club has all these great training programs and races – that helps keep me going!

Jennifer preparing for a soggy run at the Christy Clinic 10k in Champaign, IL in 2016.

Jennifer preparing for a soggy run at the Christy Clinic 10k in Champaign, IL in 2016.

What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Well, I ran my first 10k in April in Champaign. It rained. And rained and rained and rained. Here it was, the longest distance I’d ever raced, the race I’d actually been following a training plan for (a first for me), and it was a soggy mess. I started with my Hefty bag poncho (which I ditched after a mile), and ended with waterlogged shoes. I managed to avoid puddles and soaked shoes until the fifth mile, which was my second greatest achievement of the day. It was really nice to hear my husband shouting encouragement once I got into Memorial Stadium and crossed the finish line. And it was great to finish and know that I could run that distance. I’m perfectly happy with 5k’s and short races. None of this half marathon and marathon nonsense for me! I’m really good at spectating those races, though.

 

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
I ran Race the Dead last year for the first time. I particularly enjoyed stopping for a shot in the first half mile!

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?jen1
I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a race, but I love volunteering for Kids Run for Fun on Friday nights. Since last summer I’ve been in charge of registration, which involves some time with spreadsheets (my inner nerd is a fan) and being there on Friday nights. I love seeing how excited the kids are to run and that the Lake Run Club provides such a positive running experience to so many kids in our community.

What are you training for right now?
I’m not training for anything in particular. I’m hoping to complete all of the High Five races this year, and I recently finished Park 2 Park. Running doesn’t come easy to me at all, it’s something I always have to work on. So I’m just trying to keep it up. I’ve learned that anyone can be a runner. I love the variety of people that you see at races, the number of people who use running to get or stay healthy, and the outpouring of support you see for everyone who is running. I guess I’m just training to be a runner!

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Profile on Donna Griffin

Profile on Donna Griffin

How many years have you been running?  
Officially since 2010!  I was a power walker/treadmill jogger since 1995.

Who inspired you? My first Catch the Wave mentors!  Dawn Dieckgrafe, Cheryl Dwyer, and Pam Walden!!!

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
My first experience with the Catch the Wave, I was hooked and it only seemed the next in joining the “cool kids.” At least, Bill Hahm and Dan Anderson made it tempting to be one of the cool kids!

Tell me about your first race.
My first race was at Central Catholic School 5K.  Donna Jensen and I were running buddies and were going to run with all our heart.  Ohhhh the memories of that experience will always be part of my heart.  Unfortunately, this race doesn’t exist any longer.

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
13509471_10207948903673004_963382154_oThis is a tough one!  I love so many!  My favorite 5K would be Tremont Turkey festival 5K (I won my very first trophy)!  My favorite ½ Marathon would be We Care.  My favorite Full Marathon would be Chicago! As far as the Tri’s go the support and experience is so new, I love all of it! Thank to 2 groups I joined while training (Tri-Shark/Pup group and Fleet Feet).  Shout to my swimming coach Tim Auth.

What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Running Chicago Full Marathon 2015!  I still can’t believe I did it!  It was a huge event with the best spectators, I have ever witnessed!  It was my first Marathon, followed by another marathon in Indianapolis three weeks later after training with Michael Fazio and Gene Harding.

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
I usually start in my neighborhood and hit the train at the in Uptown Normal.  I also am a fan of Tipton Trail area.  But, I do enjoy running the Inner Loop at the Lake Bloomington.

If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
I would love to run Boston Marathon.  To have the experience would be awesome!  I know it is a dream, but it still 13499952_10207948888392622_1605018707_owould be totally cool for me!  :0)

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Hmmmm….I think this would be the most unusual race that I have participated in!!!  And I love that is held by some of my favorite running PEEPS!   And yes, I have tried the SPAM!!!

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Park to Park…the patriotic spirit is awesome!  The shirts are usually pretty nice too!

What are you training for right now?
I recently started training for sprint triathlons.  I have completed two so far.  Tri-Shark and Esprit de She!!!!  I am extremely excited to continue this fun journey with some great running friend.  My next Marathon is planned for later this year, in Indianapolis.

Looks like there are many supportive good people to thank, for making my journey so very fun!

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ABC#119/Multi-Sport Day, 5-21-16

Overwhelmed is the word for the day: 106 participants; 20 others donated for shirts even though they could not be there; $3,080 grand total donated to Easter Seals Timber Pointe Outdoor Center! This makes ABC#119/Multi-Sport Day at Timber Pointe on May 21 a huge success! Thanks so much to everyone who attended, donated, organized, brought food, and enhanced the day with your enthusiasm and friendship.
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The perfect weather made a great occasion for two special events: (1) wishing Jenny Keen well in her move to Colorado next month, and (2) celebrating passing the $100K mark in total donations over the course of the first 118 ABC runs. This $3,080 gives us a great start on the next $100K. I’m at a bit of a loss for words to describe my appreciation for this outpouring of support you all give for children in this area. With regard to this event, perhaps Kevin McCarthy stated it best in his Facebook message which I will repeat here (with updated numbers in parenthesis).

“Thank You! Today I am overwhelmed. Over 100 people came out to the Multi-Sport Training Day to enjoy friendship and community and to support children with developmental needs. Friends from different clubs, with different affiliations were all in one place to enjoy being together and supporting our community. A truly great day!

Through the wonderful generosity of those that joined us, we raised over $2,800 ($3,080) for Timber Pointe Outdoor Center and Easter Seals. And since we started this fun idea, Multi-Sport Day & ABC Runs have generated over $10,000 dollars for Timber Pointe and Easter Seals.

There are many to thank. The principal organizers are Merlin & Meg Anderson (ABC runs & Lake Run Club – 11 years of ABC!), John Pratt (Masters Swimming & Lake Run Club), Colleen Klein (Tri-mom events, Tri-Shark Triathlon), and yours truly Kevin McCarthy (Tri-Shark Triathlon Club and Lake Run Club). But this is truly a team event with many helping to setup the swim course, set out beverages on the run course, lead bike routes, lead trail runs, man the grill, shop for food, order and deliver supplies, line up lifeguards, supply swim caps, ensure participant safety, etc.

And a special thank you to Often Running and Mike’s Collision Center for sponsoring the ABC Run t-shirts that celebrate and commemorate over $100,000 of donations to local children charities. ABC Runs, the invention of Merlin Anderson, has been operating for 11 years. Each run aims to raise funds for a specific, local, children’s charity. We are thrilled to have Adventures Benefiting Children (ABC) be part of the Multi-Sport Training Day again this year. Thank You!”

ABC Run #120 to benefit St. Jude will be on Sunday, July 24 at 7:30 AM (doors open at 7:00) at Meryl Brown’s home.

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Profile on Erin Dwyer

Profile on Erin Dwyer

Don’t you love it when people make excuses as to why they can’t run?

“I would love to run, but I’m just so busy.”

“I have bad knees.”

“My feet are messed up.”

“My back hurts all the time so I had to stop running.” 

Well, my friends, this is a story about someone who didn’t make excuses.  Her name is Erin Dwyer.

About two years ago, Erin discovered that her friend, Pam Walden, was helping to run a program called Catch the Wave designed for newbie runners (or people who haven’t even started running yet) who want to get started.

The goal at the end of the program is to complete the Lake Run Club’s signature race held the first weekend in May, which features a 7k, a 12k, and a half-marathon.  The Catch the Wave program helps runners work up to completing the 7k along the scenic inner loop of Lake Bloomington.

Erin was intrigued, but had some reservations. A year earlier she was sidelined by two bulging discs in her back and couldn’t walk for more than 30 seconds without pain and numbness in her foot. She sought treatment, and a year later (2014), the Catch the Wave program announcements caught her eye.

Erin making her way to the finish of the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.

Erin making her way to the finish of the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.

With a little encouragement from Pam, she decided to join. “She (Pam) promised that it wouldn’t kill me, so I joined Catch the Wave, and thus the Lake Run Club in February of 2014,” Erin says. “I survived it (the Lake Run 2014) and haven’t stopped since.”

While the Lake Run remains her favorite race, Erin has aspirations to run an international event. She mentioned that Run Disney Paris may be on her bucket list. “…I like international travel, I like Disney, and I want an excuse to go back.”

Erin has several races on the docket for the spring, including the Christie Clinic Half Marathon and a number of local races. Her next big event will be the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.

Since her debut race in 2014, Erin has become an active member of the running community these past few years, participating in local events or volunteering at events like a local glow run. You may see her out running on the peaceful North side of Bloomington-Normal’s Constitution trail.

 

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