As most locals were either sleeping in or starting weekend errands, a small group of Forest Park residents and District 91 staff members gathered in the morning at Forest Park Middle School on Saturday, Aug. 12, to kick-off the school year with the district’s second annual Back to School 5K.
With temperatures in the high 60s around the start of race time at 8 a.m., nearly 50 people made their way to the starting line to either run, walk or cheer on neighbors.
Developed by the administration as a way to get the Forest Park community involved with the schools and celebrate area children, Rebecca Latham, D91 public relations/community manager, said the district wanted to bring back the race after 2016’s successful inaugural event.
“We think that having events is important because it just brings the community together,” she said. “We wanted to have an event that will help us to kick off the school year and start it in a healthy way and in a fun way.”
Coming in first place at this year’s race was Camilo Medina, a D91 graduate and incoming freshman at Proviso Math and Science Academy. Medina, who has had recent race successes with the Proviso Township Zephyrs Track Club and plans on running competitively in high school, conquered the 3-mile course in 20 minutes.
“I think it’s important to participate in the community because I used to be a Boy Scout, and we used to do community service and all that, and I just like participating,” Medina said.
Also participating in the race for the first time was Forest Park resident Jessica Clement, who finished second overall with a time of 20:30 and was the first woman to complete the course.
“I thought it would just be a nice little speed workout for marathon training,” said Clement, who is training for a marathon next month in Holland, Michigan.
While she has no children yet in Forest Park schools (her daughter is 1), she heard about the race from a friend though Facebook and thought it would be nice to learn more about the district and meet with Forest Park school families.
“It’s a good reason for the community to come together and celebrate something, and going back to school is important for so many people,” she said.
Funds raised from the race will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
This story has been changed to correct where funds raised by the race will be donated.