Runners from all over Chicagoland will converge on Forest Park on Sunday, Nov. 6 to squeeze in one last race before winter sets in. But the Golden Apple 5K Run, which will take place in Forest Park for the first time after eight years in Chicago, is not just another race.
Proceeds from the run go towards the Golden Apple Foundation, a Chicago based organization which recruits, mentors and rewards local teachers. Golden Apple projects include the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program, which provides college scholarships to students who intend to teach in the state’s public school system after graduation, and the Golden Apple Awards, which honor 10 carefully selected Chicago area teachers each year.
Brian Connelly, co-owner of Run Chicago on Madison Street said he suggested moving the race to Forest Park to his good friend and race organizer Tim Kenny of Kenny and Kenny P.C. in Oak Park. Connelly said he has since been helping in any way he can, from designing the race course to promoting the race at the store.
“I’m happy to have something like this here, to bring some attention to town,” he said. “You know you’ve made it when you have a Starbucks and a race in your town.”
Runners will begin the race on Marengo south of Madison. They will hit the one mile mark on Desplaines on the bridge over the I-290 and the two mile mark at 314 S. Lathrop.
The three mile marker will be at 337 S. Marengo, and the finish line will be at Marengo and Madison.
The race will begin at 9 a.m., and Connelly said it was likely to last about one hour.
It will be followed with festivities outside Run Chicago featuring a live band and refreshments from sponsors including Whole Foods Market and Leona’s.
Runners aged 21 and older will be eligible for one free beer during a celebration after the race at O’Sullivan’s on Madison.
Those who are unable to stick around for the after-parties will not leave the race empty handed. All participants will be entered in a raffle where they can win gift certificates from any one of 13 local merchants as well as Beanie Babies donated by Ty, Inc.
Prizes for winners will include dry-fit T-Shirts to be distributed to winners in each of 14 age groups, and a “Golden Apple 5K Team Winner Trophy” for the fastest high school cross country team of four.
Race organizers are hoping to have about 200 runners and walkers by race day. The cost to participate is $25 in advance, or $30 the day of the race. Organizers are also seeking volunteers to work from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on race day. Helpers are needed to assist with registration, traffic diversion and the serving of refreshments.
Those interested in volunteering should call Marty at Kenny and Kenny P.C. at (708) 386-0600.
Marengo will be closed from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. the day of the race. Runners will receive a police escort on both sides of the pack during the race, allowing the remainder of the course to reopen to traffic once they have passed.
Parking will be unavailable on the 400 block of Marengo until 10 a.m.
More information about the race is available online at www.ga5k.com. Information about the Golden Apple Foundation can be found at www.goldenapple.org/index.htm.