The Golden Apple 5K Run is being held for the second time in Forest Park and, with continued support, will become the first annual race in the community.
Every year since 1986, the Golden Apple Foundation has awarded 10 Illinois teachers for their outstanding contributions to society. The 5K run is an event that helps raise funds for statewide education programs. This year, the foundation hopes to bring in $15,000.
“We’re a local organization with a statewide impact,” Associate Director of Development Greg Borkowski said.
The race was held in Chicago prior to last year. However, the decision to move the race to Forest Park was influenced by the community’s ongoing support. Several local organizations sponsor the event, including Run Chicago in Forest Park and Caring Medical in Oak Park.
“Organized runs are important for a community, especially a small one like Forest Park,” sponsor Dan Offerman, senior vice president of the Forest Park National Bank and Trust Company said. “The race gives us great exposure. It gives us the opportunity to show the world what we’re all about.”
According to Borkowski, the race reaches out to three different communities.
“There’s the running community, which includes serious runners who use 5Ks for training,” Borkowski said. “Then there’s the Golden Apple community, which includes staff and board members, teachers, and students. And finally, there’s the Forest Park community, and for them the race is a great thing because it’s right in their back yard.”
Teachers eligible for the Golden Apple award must fill out a lengthy application, which includes an essay portion, and requires at least three references. Students wishing to apply for scholarship programs can do so online at the Golden Apple Foundation website.
Teachers who receive the award are given a $3,000 stipend, a paid sabbatical at Northwestern University where they may choose any and as many courses they wish to take, and an Apple computer. They are also inducted into the Golden Apple Academy, whose mission is to advance the profession of teaching.
Several statewide programs benefit from the 5K race, including the Golden Apple Teacher Education Program (GATE), and the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois. Funds raised in the race are given to these and other programs.
While no big changes will be made to the race this year, Borkowski hopes to make it a fixture in Forest Park.
“It was a strategic decision to move the race to Forest Park,” Borkowski said. “It was so well received last year that we thought it best to keep it here and see what happens.”
Going into its eighth year, the race is expected to draw in about 500 participants from all over the area. It will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 9 a.m.