• Megann Horstead

Homer Pride Color Run draws roughly 700 people in Year 3


Homer Junior High School student Nicholas Skiba topped the annual Homer Pride Color Run on Oct. 1.

Skiba, who serves as a member of his school’s cross country team, covered the 3.1-mile race just moments ahead of the second place finisher.

“It was hard,” the Homer Glen resident said. “I tried my best, and I ran as hard as I could.”

People of all ages took to the racecourse to take part in the Future Ready Student Foundation’s Color Run that benefits Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C students, staff and schools.

“It’s real exciting,” said Robyn Bates, fundraising coordinator for the Future Ready Student Foundation. “I’ve chaired the race all three years. It started out just with two schools—Hadley Middle School and Homer Jr. High School. That was our first year. Our second year, we made it as a district, and we did it as a district again [this year.] So, it’s overwhelming the amount of support I got in the schools.”

The Future Ready Student Foundation aims to support students, staff and classrooms in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. This year’s Homer Pride Color Run raised more than $10,000, according to the district.

Bates said supporting the foundation is important as they push 21st century, and that is the way in which education is gravitating. Proceeds will be used toward teacher grants, enabling exploration of innovative teaching strategies to that end, with a goal of creating 21st century school libraries that offer flexible spaces and furniture which encourage exploration, creation and collaboration, per the district.

The Homer Pride Color Run brought in 85 volunteers, 15 of which were students who were wiling to donate their time to help put on this year’s race.

Bates said seeing the outpouring of support for the race is very important to her.

“If the teachers are all about it, and they’re all excited about it, then they’ll buzz our kids about, and then our kids will get excited,” Bates said. “Then, they’ll tell the parents, and the parents are going to get excited. So, it becomes a real big community thing.”

The Color Run brought in approximately 700 runners this time around, and it began and ended at South Founders Crossing and Bell Road in Homer Glen—just behind Charter Fitness, which helped sponsor the event.

The action got underway beginning at 9 a.m. with pre-race warm-ups led by Charter Fitness trainers. A group of singers from Homer 33C led participants in the singing of the national anthem, and the race ensued at 9:30 a.m.

Skiba said he prepared for the color run and that winning the race did not serve as a first for him.

“I sometimes get first,” he said. “It was hard. I like running on grass, but it’s a good course. The weather was good. There were good runners, and I liked the race.”

Ausra Borusevicius, also of Homer Glen, prepared to hit the racecourse alongside her 8-year-old daughter, Ema, who attends Schilling School. The duo often run in various races together as a family. They prepared to compete using a bike trail located near their home.

“[Ema] is very competitive,” Ausra said. “She will not give up.”

Ausra said she had one goal in mind as they looked to compete: do their best.

Anita Garcia, of Lockport, said she is glad she and her 6-year-old daughter, Olivia, decided to come out for the event. Her goal she had in mind for the race was to get my daughter familiar with the idea of racing while running it together.

The pair noted a number of familiar faces from Schilling School ahead of the race’s start time.

“It’s a great turnout from what I see,” Anita said.

Anita said she and her daughter did not do much preparation ahead of time and went on to say the race is about “just having fun.”

Scott Groenendal, also of Lockport, finished the race he started with his wife, Tammy, and their three kids, Noah, Aubrey and Ethan.

He said he felt “slow compared to the kids, but it was just for fun.”

“In fact, I was beaten by my son,” the father added.

The Groenendal family typically competes in two or three races each year.

“I just train throughout the year,” Scott said. “I work out five to six times a week, and three of those are running.”

Scott also liked the layout of this year’s course.

“It was hilly,” he said. “We’re not running in California or Denver or Utah where there is beautiful scenery, but running through the nature paths is nice.

“I think anytime as a community we can raise money for kids in these political[ly] and social[ly] uncertain times, where there’s so much going on with the national anthem protest, unrest and terrorism, it’s a good time to come together. To support a worthy cause is a good thing. It’s a bit of a reprieve from all the negative.”

At the conclusion of the race, a Homer Pride trophy was awarded to Schilling School to recognize the building for having the most representation between students and staff. The honor bestowed by the event’s organizers was a first for the Homer Pride Color Run.

“We didn’t do it last year; it was just another way put the schools in a little friendly competition against one another,” Bates said. “Schools have bragging rights.”

#HomerGlen #education

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