For the first time in nine years, the Annual Golden Apple All Children Deserve Excellent Teachers Run/Walk will move from Chicago”and into Forest Park. The event will take place Nov. 6.
“It is the first race ever in Forest Park and we thought it would be a lot of fun to blaze a new trail,” said Tim Kenny, race organizer and sponsor.
“We are hoping to raise money through sponsors, like Kenny’s CPA in Oak Park, Run Chicago in Forest Park, Caring Medical in Oak Park and Be Nuts for Your Health (Benuts.com) in Oak Park,” Kenny said.
The decision to move the race was made, in part, because all the major sponsors are based in the general vicinity and because the area provides easy access to Chicago.
“With the Forest Park location I think we are going to be able to pull off a real fun family event as well,” Kenny said. “It will be easy for families to come find parking and participate.”
For the past eight years, the race was held in Chicago. It used courses in Lincoln Park, the Columbia Yacht Club Course, and in Soldier Field course, for example.
But in Forest Park, the race will stand out as the only one in town, as opposed to one of hundreds in Chicago, Kenny said.
“Like the Forest Park’s slogan: ‘Small town charm, Big city access,’ we are looking to tap into that,” Kenny said. “Our programs benefit Forest Park and the surrounding areas. It seems like a natural fit.”
“We don’t really know what the full benefit is going to be yet,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone, who added he is excited about the upcoming race. “These types of long distance running initiatives, particularly the ones that are geared towards helping a charity, are healthy and will bring vibrancy to the village. We’ll get exposure to individuals who aren’t familiar with our community and give them the opportunity to see us and experience us.”
The foundation is hoping to raise $10,000 this year in a race that typically draws approximately 500 runners.
“We’ll have all levels of athletes from NCAA college runners to high school competitive state runners to beginner runners,” said Kenny. “In fact we are going to design a free program for beginner runners that are interested in running the 5K.”
He added that there will also be plenty of walkers in the crowd.
The run/walk will benefit the Golden Apple Foundation, which believes that effective teaching is the most critical component in education.
With this in mind, funds raised will be used “for programs like the Scholars of Illinois program, which provides scholarships for high school students going to college and coming back to teach in the public school system, and the Golden Apple Awards, which highlights 10 outstanding teachers in the Chicagoland area and builds recognition for that industry,” Kenny said.
The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program was created in 1988 and is the largest pre-service teacher support program in the nation. In 2002 the program served nearly 700 scholars throughout Illinois.
Each year 100 scholars are selected statewide during their senior year in high school or sophomore year in college. In exchange for the scholarship, students commit to serving five years in an Illinois school in need.
The start time for the race will be 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 with activities running until 11:30 a.m. or noon. Entry fees will range from $17 to $25. Registration will open April 1 and can be accessed on signmeupsports.com.