ABC#164, St. Jude, 6-13-21

ABC Run #164 was at Rosa Parks on June 13. Wow! $3,532 donated to St. Jude from the 42 that attended, several others that donated online, and several that donated at the post ABC run party hosted at Lake Bloomington by Matt Stuckel and Shannon Duvendack.

Thanks a million to all participants, to Lisa Sparks for keeping the food tradition alive by making “Meg’s coffee cake”, and to Mike Laffey for taking photos.


We’ve held a total of 19 ABC runs for St. Jude and the total of those runs is $34,203. The total for all 164 ABC runs is $181,619. Thanks so much for all of your support over the years.

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ABC#163/Multi-Sport, 5-22-21

ABC#163/Multi-Sport Day on May 2 was another great success with 54 participants and $3,010 donated to Timber Pointe Outdoor Center! Thanks so much to everyone who attended, donated, organized, brought food, and enhanced the day with your enthusiasm and friendship.

There was no swim but, hey, it’s still “Multi-Sport” because we still had more than one sport. The weather was great – perfect for running and hiking and biking and having a cookout.

At 8:00, we gathered to hear Allen McBride, the camp director, tell us a little about the camp and thank us for our contributions. We also took a group photo – the first group photo at an ABC run since February 2020. We are finally getting back closer to normal after all the pandemic related precautions. The runners then took off to either run the roads or run the trails. Thanks, Doug Ficca, for riding your trail bike to lead the runners through the camp trails.

At 10:00, the bicyclists gathered for a group photo, then to go on either a 13 mile ride or a 26 mile ride. We had two group leaders: Larry Schumacher for the 13 mile ride and Kevin McCarthy for the 26 mile ride.

At 12:00, all were rewarded with a great cookout at Stearns Lodge. Grilled chicken breasts, brats, hamburgers, all the fixings, and a variety of beverages! Thanks, Mike Johnson, for serving as chef. And thanks to the Lake Run Club for the food and beverages.

Thanks again to everyone who made this event another great success. A special thanks to the Lake Run Club for underwriting the costs so that we could continue the tradition of 100% of donations going to the charity. Thanks to Kevin McCarthy, John Pratt, Doug Ficca, and Allen McBride for all the organizing. Thanks to Audrey Sparks for being our photographer. Thanks to Meryl Brown for directing traffic to Stern Lodge. Thanks to Lisa Sparks for keeping the coffee cake tradition alive and to others who brought food or helped with other duties. What a great day!

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ABC#162, The Baby Fold, 4-17-21

So awesome and heartwarming!  An amazing $4,685 was donated to support The Baby Fold this year, a Baby Fold ABC record, and the 2nd highest total among all 162 ABC runs! We had 36 on-site participants, several on-line donations, and several that got their donations to me before or after the run. Thank you all so much for your generosity and enthusiasm!

Aimee Beam, VP of Development and Public Relations, wrote this thank you note:
“Thank you to everyone who supported the ABC Run for The Baby Fold on Saturday. You were able to raise $4,685 for our children’s programs! For those who may be unfamiliar, the Baby Fold provides adoption support, foster care, early childhood education programs, special education and help for children with autism. We support 1200 local kids every year with help from good friends like you. The money buys things like playground equipment, computers for kids, critical play therapy tools, and more. We are very grateful for your support as we work to give our kids the lives they deserve! Thank you!”

Also, thanks to State Farm for their matching program. We do not count State Farm matches in the ABC event total but it likely adds about 25%, considering the number of employees/retirees among the participants. Perhaps the total benefit to The Baby Fold is over $6,000. Please remember to submit your donations.

This is the 17th year of doing an ABC runs for The Baby Fold and the grand total of all contributions is now $30,449. Thanks to everyone for your generosity and enthusiastic support over the years.

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ABC#161, for Scott ELC, 3-13-21

Another record! $1,251 is the highest total of all 13 ABC runs for Scott Early Learning Center. Thanks so much 38 attendees and three other donors for your generous support of the children in our community. Scott ELC will benefit even more when State Farm employees/retirees apply under their matching grant program. If you contributed $25 or more, please be sure to apply.

We met at Rosa Parks Commons in order to follow social distancing protocols. Laura Cordero from Scott ELC did a great job of hosting, allowing me go for a run. Everyone did a fine job of spacing out the times of arrival so we did not have any large group at any one time.

There was a nice assortment of fine snacks at Rosa Parks. Thanks so much to Rebecca Africano for making Meg’s coffee cake. And great thanks to Stacy Sheridan for the brownies, Felicia Harrison for cookies, Kevin Fahling for cookies, and Laura Cordero for the bananas, cuties, and water.

This is the 13th year of ABC runs for Scott Early Learning Center. This year’s $1,251 brings the thirteen-year total to $10,027.  The total for all 161 ABC runs is $170,347. Not bad for a group of friends just out having fun and giving thanks for their ability to do so. Thanks a million to everyone who all who have provided financial support, food, and encouragement.

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Bob Pool’s Final Finish Line

by Dan Gould & Charlie Grotevant

There are runners who are passionate about our sport and there are runners who are passionate about  our sport.  Bob Pool was, clearly, one of the latter. Bob, 84, years young, sprinted across life’s final finish line on February 4, 2021, at the  Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth, Illinois, where he resided since November, 2017.


Bob with brother John 1999 —

Bob was introduced to this running life in the mid-80’s by brother John.   John had started in 1978 to lose some weight when he feared his waistline was turning into a wasteland and continued to run until 2010 when his knees said no more.  He would log 670 races, many of them with Bob.  They gave new meaning to the word car-Pool and many of us learned there was a village in Iroquois called Thawville (Pop. about 240).

Unlike John, Bob didn’t keep track of his miles or races, but he embraced the world of road racing with hundreds of 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons in his approximately 35 years of running which ended in 2017.  His name was on the membership list of numerous running clubs including the Kankakee River Running Club, the Kennekuk Road Runners, the Lake Run Club, the Starved Rock Runners, the Vermillion Valley Striders, and the Second Wind Running Club.  Bob was the Second Wind Running Club’s Runner of the Year in 2000.

In his Illinois Half Marathon shirt —-

While Bob never identified a favorite race, he spoke fondly of the River-to-River Relay in southern Illinois, an 80 mile race from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River which Bob ran several times.  Each of the eight members of the team runs three legs of about 3 miles.  A team event is rare in road racing and River-to-River is a day long bonding experience that begets some lasting friendships.  Bob thoroughly enjoyed these shared opportunities to run and socialize.

The Kilbride Family Classic 5K on Father’s Day was also, apparently, one of Bob’s favorites.  In 2010, Bob was one of three runners recognized for having participated in all of the first fifteen races.

Charlie Grotevant – Bob Pool – Dan Gould 2010 —-   

Kilbride Classic 15 year perfect attendance plaques —-

When Bob retired from farming in 1998, he discovered golf and it became another passion, an every day event.  Golf became his “cross-training ” as he walked the golf course while carrying his bag, sometimes 54 holes after a morning run.  He disdained golf carts and resented having to ride in one for his golf league.  As John had introduced Bob to running, Bob introduced John to golfing when John put the tractor in the barn for the last time in 2003.  They shared starting lines and tee times for many years.

Our running world is populated with good, interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life.  Bob was one of those guys, one of the people we looked forward to seeing on race day.  He would be there with a smile, a positive attitude, a kind word.  Bob, we will miss you.  Thanks for the memories!

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ABC#160, for Sugar Grove, 1-9-21

Wow! $2,525 was donated to Sugar Grove Nature Center by the 58 participants, including donations from four that could not attend. That is the highest total of all sixteen ABC events that have been held for Sugar Grove Nature Center. Thanks everyone.

When I arrived at 8:45, Mariah Myers of SGNC was already there and taking care of early attendees. A big thanks to Moriah for being such a gracious host and taking care of things before the 9:00 start time until after the 12:00 ending time.

After posing for photos, participants opted for the trails or for the road course. From what I saw, I think a majority opted for the trails seeing as the conditions were good.

After the run, we were treated to a variety of great eats. Thanks to Rebecca Africano for coffee cake cupcakes, Holly-Rae Van Hoof for Grove Street Bakery cookies, and Mariah Myers for yogurt & granola & chocolate milk & orange juice & more.

Thanks also to Audrey Sparks for supplementing the few photos I took with a variety of great shots of participants and scenery.

Thanks so much to everyone who attended, contributed, brought food, and made it fun!


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ABC#159, for Adopt-A-Family

So heartwarming! On November 14 it was 30 degrees with a 20 mph wind but 47 participants came to Rosa Parks Commons and another 13 people send a donation. A total of $3,120 was contributed to Adopt-A-Family! This will provide a great Christmas for our assigned family and at least two additional families. Those that submit their donations to their corporate matching gift program will help even more. Thanks so much to everyone for your support and thanks to Lisa Sparks for doing a great job hosting. The tradition continues…Meg is smiling!

Also smiling will be our assigned family and the other families that your donations will help. Our assigned family includes a mom who is working a full-time job and a part-time job to support herself, her baby and her family. Her father is recovering from cancer and her mom’s work hours have been cut due to COVID. She also has a brother who lives in the home due to a physical and mental disability that does not allow him to live independently. She does an amazing job of balancing her work and her responsibilities as a mother and caregiver. This family and other families will greatly benefit from the Adopt-A-Family program.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions we weren’t able to gather to hear about the Adopt-A-Family program, how much assistance it provides, and how carefully the program is administered. For more information on the Adopt-A-Family program, go to:


Although the venue was outside, we still had a great variety of goodies. Lisa Sparks kept the “Meg’s coffee cake” tradition alive by providing coffee cake cupcakes, Rebecca Africano brought blueberry muffins, Kevin Fahling brought chocolate chip cookies, and Laurel Schumacher brought a variety of fruit. Thanks a bunch!


We have completed sixteen years of ABC runs and had a record year. Total contributions for the eight ABC runs in 2020 is $17,777.  The total for all 159 ABC runs is $166,546. Looking forward to another great year starting January 9 at Sugar Grove.


Thanks a gazillion to everyone for your kindness and generosity!


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ABC#158, for Heartland Head Start

Thanks to Heartland Head Start for writing this article. Thanks also to Audrey Sparks and David Weber for photography, and the the 38 participants/contributors.

Sunday, October 4th was a beautiful crisp morning to gather at Rosa Parks Commons to run for Heartland Head Start!  We successfully collected $786 to directly benefit the children and families they serve.  Special thanks go out to everyone who attended and supported the event.  Coffee, juice, doughnuts, yogurt, muffins and much more was provided to keep everyone warm and bellies full!

The Constitution Trail provided different options for our runners and supporters to choose their route for the morning.  Leaves of every color were on the ground as our feet hit the pavement and our lungs were filled with fall air!  It was a memory we will always cherish.

Heartland Head Start enhances the lives of children and families who meet the federal income and eligibility guidelines in McLean and Livingston County. They do this by providing a comprehensive child and family development program for women receiving prenatal care, children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and their families.  Over the years, we have completed multiple runs to benefit HHS.  Money raised has helped the agency pay for playground equipment, classroom supplies and various classroom projects.

HHS staff in attendance for the run included Executive Director Karen Bruning, Child Family Services Director Teri Meismer, Health and Nutrition Manager Autumn Wisz, Public Relations Coordinator Whitney Chesher and Family Resource Advocate Zari Gary.

Karen Bruning, HHS Executive Director, is incredibly thankful and appreciative by the continued support for HHS from the Lake Run Club.  She says, “the ABC run (Adventures Benefitting Children) is one of my favorite events of the year.  We are working hard to get a team to participate as well, as health and wellness is at the forefront of our services.  Meg and Merlin have been supporting our agency over the years with this run and it’s great to see community members giving back.  Our agency counts on non-federal match and community giving.  This is just one example of how great people do great things!”

Again, we appreciate everyone who attended this event and look forward to helping HHS again next year!


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ABC#157, for Seedling Theatre

ABC Run #157 on August 29 was a great success with $1,000 donated to Seedling Theatre thanks to the generosity of everyone involved. Thanks much to:
(a) Laurel & Larry Schumacher for being super hosts at Rosa Parks Commons, providing lots of great fruit, and donating a harvest bowl for the prize drawing.
(b) Donna & Rick Anhalt for supplying water & great snacks and for providing a gift basket for the drawing containing tickets to the 2021 Christmas performance plus other cool items.
(c) Sharri Pelarske for donating a harvest basket for the drawing.
(d) Meg Anderson for donating homemade chokecherry jelly for the drawing.
(e) Audrey Sparks for taking all the great photos.
(f) 48 attendees (and two other contributors) that donated a total of $1,000.

Seedling Theatre is a wonderful theatrical program for children & young adults and adults with disabilities, as well as their able bodied peers. We have completed eleven ABC runs for Seedling Theatre, generating total donations of $12,625. ABC runs have been Seedling’s major source of funding which has helped them to purchase sound equipment, pay copyright fees, give small honorariums to staff, and much more. Thanks a million to everyone for all the support.

Donna Anhalt, the Seedling Theatre director, is always so deeply touched by the outpouring of support for Seedling. Because we are following social distancing guidelines, we were unable to gather as a group to hear her thoughts about our support for Seedling Theatre.

Due to participants arriving at different times, we prearranged random numbers to pick lucky winners as they checked in. For example, if the first random number was “3”, the 3rd person to be signed in was the lucky winner. To the best of my memory, here are the lucky winners:
1. Paul Haas won the seedling gift basket.

  1. Nick Anderson won a container of powdered Gatorade mix.
    3. Barb Feeney won a jar of chokecherry jelly.
    4. Deanne Husseman won a jar of chokecherry jelly.
    5. Ann Aubry won the harvest bowl.
    6. Erin Furimsky won the harvest basket.

A great time was had by all. Thanks again for such heartwarming support.

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ABC#156, for St. Jude

ABC Run #156 was at Tipton Park on June 20. A record total of $5,110 was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital thanks to the great generosity of 42 attendees plus 26 others that could not make it but sent us checks or donated online. The donations far exceeded expectations, with the highest total donations among all 156 ABC runs. More importantly, the donations help kids by helping St. Jude provide free lifesaving care and to continue its groundbreaking research. The kids can benefit even more when employees/retirees of companies like State Farm submit their donations for the company match.

Following health guidelines regarding Covid-19, we practiced social distancing and asked participants to show up at different times, thus no group photo. Once again, these simple rules worked perfectly.

If we would have had a group gathering, I would have loved to give special credit to Deb Schumann for attending her 101st ABC run. What an amazing level of support that Deb has shown over the 15+ years of ABC runs. Right behind her are several participants that are past 90 events already.

The food was limited to Meg’s awesome coffee cake cupcakes. Due to Covid-19 concerns we wanted to avoid having participants touch utensils. We look forward to when we can again have the potluck.

We’ve held a total of 18 ABC runs for St. Jude and the total of those runs is $30,671. The total for all 156 ABC runs is $161,615. Thanks so much to everyone for all of your support, and a special thanks to Shady Hollow Trail Runners for giving us a nice boost and a heartfelt note of tribute to Meg!

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