ABC Run #100 was hosted by Laurel and Larry Schumacher on August 10. An astounding $3,021 was donated to Seedling Theatre, thanks to the generosity of 106 attendees and several others that sent donations. Donators were given the option to receive a commemorative “100 Adventures Benefiting Children” shirt. Thanks so much to Often Running for donating the shirts and to Bloomington Primary Care for donating the printing. Thanks also to Joe Anhalt for designing the ABC logo. Thanks a million to everyone that donated and to everyone that brought all the delicious food!
Donna Anhalt, the Seedling Theatre director, was so grateful for everyone’s support that she wrote “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”.
That’s the “in a nutshell” report. What follows is a more philosophical rambling account of the events (my apologies to Garrison Keillor for ineptly jacking his style).
It’s been a quiet week at Lake Tipton. Traffic on the trail was light all week but promised to pick up to fever pitch on Sunday morning, August 10, when it was hoped that more than 100 runners and walkers would participate in the 100th Adventure Benefiting Children. ABC runs are social runs coupled with pot-luck food and a free-will offering in which 100% of the proceeds go to a local children’s charity. ABC runs, though different, are just the type of thing you might expect from the generous folk in the heartland.
Anytime you celebrate a 100th anything, it should be epic. Our charity for this event was Seedling Theatre, a wonderful theatrical program for children and young adults with disabilities, as well as their able bodied peers. Extra efforts to generate donations for this deserving program included having t-shirts for the first time, getting an article published in the Pantagraph on August 5, and appearing on a talk show on WJBC on Friday morning, August 8.
At the crack of dawn on August 10, Meg Anderson was baking her famous coffee cake while I was mixing Gatorade to place near the Russian Gardens, two miles from the start of the run. The weather was perfect, the kind of day where nothing can go wrong.
Nothing could go wrong, that is, until I decided that the weight of enough Gatorade to serve 100 runners was more than I could carry. Driving east on Vernon Avenue, I took a hard left onto the Constitution Trail right in front of a Normal squad car. Lights and a siren were not the sights and sounds I was hoping for. I pleaded for mercy with a story about this being the 100th ABC run and how I didn’t want to strain my back hauling a hundred pounds of Gatorade/water on foot for a long distance. After calling his supervisor, the patrolman decided to let me go. Phew!
The scene at the Schumacher home was busy! Lines of people were walking from the parking lot to their home. Lines were forming in the house to sign up, get shirts, and find a place for all the food. Shortly after 7:30, we managed to gather the crowd for a group photo to be taken by Nancy Beaty (NB Photography) who volunteered her services. Thanks, Nancy!
After running or walking, participants had the greatest feast ever for an ABC run, including: -coffee cake and ham/egg casserole (Meg Anderson), -sausage casserole (Stacy Sheridan), -biscuits & gravy, hard-boiled eggs, big family bars, Bloody Mary fixings (Schumachers) -Bloody Mary garnishes (Kent Lowry) -Sangria (Jeffrey McCarther) -mini-sausage/biscuit and chicken/biscuit (Sharri Pelarske), -french toast casserole (Robyn Walter), -strawberries, blueberries, bananas (Lisa Sparks), -chocolate chip cookies (Kevin Fahling), -sausage/egg casserole, plus goodies from Weber Bakery (Donna Anhalt), -assorted pastries (Catherine Anhalt), -Luna bars and Gatorade (Angela Funk), -caramel brownies (Kristen Dixon), -cheese & melon (Pam Oles), -Panera bagels: asiago, cinnamon crunch (Carolyn Oles), -sweet & nutty cereal mix (Dawn Auten), -very berry tiramisu (Anonymous), -Panera bagels (Kristi Newbold), -Grove Street Bakery coffee cake (Mary Pinkham), -muffins (Stacie Rood), -scotcheroos & brownies (Dawn Dieckgrafe), -bananas (Kevin Callis), -gorp (Missi Adams), -cheesecake bars (Schleuters), -scotcharoos (Felicia Harrison), -brownie bites (June Black), -salsa (Tara Payne), -Sugar Mama Bakery cupcakes (Tanya Gionatti), -banana bread (Krissy Dodson), -banana nut/cinnamon swirl (Zooks), -peanut butter oatmeal cookies (Michele Masten), -smoked gouda cheese (Ropp Jersey Cheese Store), -chocolate chip cookies (DoubleTree Hotel) -other food & drink (Anonymous – thank you whoever you are).
Fat and happy after consuming huge quantities of delicious food, it was time to start the special program we had planned for this, the 100th ABC run. First on the program was Donna Anhalt, the Seedling Theatre director. Donna thanked us profusely for our generous donations and support, explained how the program works, and then introduced several of the Seedling Theatre performers who then performed a very touching rendition of the song “Let it Go”.
As they sang, I thought back on the Seedling Theatre production that Meg and I attended a couple years ago. I thought about the love and caring you could sense throughout the room and the caring mentoring relationship between Donna and her assistants and all of the performers. You could feel the same thing now as each participant proudly and enthusiastically performed. When they were finished, they received a standing ovation.
I should have known better than to let myself be so moved by their performance. I had a little lump in my throat when it was my time to say a bit about the ABC run program. Fortunately, shortly after I managed to utter, “I probably shouldn’t have planned to follow that”, Laurel saved me by stepping in to give awards at random to a few of those that brought food. Food is such an important part of ABC runs that it we decided to recognize those that bring the food we all enjoy. We collected cards that had been filled out by those that brought food and drew cards from a box. With a Seedling Theatre performer as her assistant, Laurel awarded gifts to: –Tara Payne (harvest basket from Laurel) –Sharri Pelarski (harvest basket from Laurel) –Mary Pinkham (four tickets to the Seedling Theatre Christmas production) –Kevin Fahling (four tickets to the Seedling Theatre Christmas production)
By this time, I was ready to finish the festivities by talking about how this crazy idea of a series of social runs with a free-will offering for charity evolved during a run ten years ago and how my training partners (Kevin Fahling, Mike Heffron, and Mary Ellen Schupbach) embraced the idea and still provide their support. I noted how Meg enthusiastically joined in, invited friends, and started her tradition of making coffee cake. Before long others were bringing food, hosting ABC runs and the rest is history. After 100 ABC runs, all of us who support ABC runs have collectively raised more than $75,000 and benefited 26 different local children’s charities. It’s times like this that I realize the limits of my vocabulary and am at a loss to express how I feel about all your support for these worthwhile causes. Thank you so very, very much!
That’s all the news from Lake Tipton, where all the women are fast, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.