Jerry Davich: Running worth it for a good cause
JERRY DAVICH August 13, 2013 10:56PM
Last years annual Pack-a-thon at Opportunity Enterprises attrracted 800 volunteers packing more than 45,000 runner bags for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. | Photo provided
Did you call me?
Due to problems with my voice mail system, I may have missed your call if you left me a message during the past two weeks. If I didn’t get back to you yet, feel free to leave me a new voice mail with your feedback, question or column idea at 713-7237.
Updated: September 15, 2013 6:11AM
Deadlines. Cinnabons. Story ideas. Fountain Cokes. Painful knees. Deep-dish pizza. Lovemaking. Chicago Bears football. Albert Camus. Deadlines. Radio show guests. Dwindling daylight. Sore feet. Shoreline sunsets. TV shows. And, of course, finish lines.
Although I have no idea what real runners think about while marking mile after mile, these are things I regularly think about while running. Well, not running actually. Truth be told, I hate running. I’m more of a slow jogger. Or a plodder.
Until earlier this year, when I ran 13.1 miles in the Indy Mini-Marathon, I had never run a longer distance than six miles in one stretch. In Indianapolis, I couldn’t believe I finished upright let alone without injury. I give full credit to the thousands of encouraging spectators-turned-cheerleaders who lined the entire race route. They somehow distracted me from the alarming fact that I was RUNNING 13 MILES. Crazy stupid.
You see, I’ve got bad knees, vulnerable ankles, and the high school record for the one-mile run — the record, that is, for the longest time to run it, more than 17 minutes, if I recall. Sigh. Today, even at age 51, I think I could walk it faster than that.
For me to run, jog, or even plod in the upcoming Chicago Marathon would be suicidal, right? Possibly, but here are my two reasons why I recently registered for the race at the last minute. First, to show other non-runners that it can be done (I hope) — especially at “my age” with no experience and not enough training. And, more importantly, to raise money for Opportunity Enterprises, a Valparaiso-based organization that helps people who face much harder challenges on a daily basis than running 26.2 miles.
Since 1967, OE has been enriching the quality of life for adults and children with disabilities throughout Northwest Indiana, including 1,100 clients today. The nonprofit agency is in its 15th year of hosting a marathon team, since starting in 1999 with 75 runners.
“More than 3,000 OE runners have since raised over $1.5 million for children and adults with disabilities,” said Allison Thomas, OE’s marketing and communications manager.
Last year, 325 runners raised $180,000, including an OE client who I shadowed throughout her training and race day for a column. This year 352 runners will be taking part in the internationally-known race in the windy city.
As a journalist, I’ve written countless stories and columns through the years about OE and its truly “amazing” clients, most who can run circles around me when it comes to life’s marathon of workplace hurdles, emotional injuries and societal challenges.
The money raised this year will support development at the agency’s “Lakeside” facility, which houses three programs serving 150 clients with moderate to severe to profound disabilities.
On Oct. 13, I’ll be running for these clients. I’m hoping you will join me to support them. Not by running or jogging or plodding as I will be attempting. Nor by all the training I’ll be doing until race day. No, I’m asking for your support by making a donation on behalf of these clients. You can do so at this website: www.crowdrise.com/jerrydavich. Or by contacting me directly.
I have a monetary goal to meet and I’d be very appreciative if you could help me reach it. If you do, you will receive an immediate confirmation of your tax-deductible donation and I will be notified as soon as you do. I’ll note all supporters, if they wish, in an upcoming column.
Any dollar amount would be welcomed, not only by me but also by all those OE clients who are unable to take part in the Chicago Marathon. Questions? Feel free to ask me. Comments? Feel free to tell me. Survival tips for this clueless but aspiring marathoner? I’m all eyes.
Thank you in advance for even considering making a difference in the lives of others who truly know the meaning of a challenging race — of course I’m talking about the human race.
Your chance to run
Are you interested in taking part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon but missed your opportunity to do so? You still have a chance.
All you have to do is tell the Chicago Sun-Times Media why you want to run in 100 words or less for your chance to win a complimentary entry. Winners will be determined by online votes so be sure to forward your entry to friends, family and coworkers. The five essays with the most votes win, simple as that.
To enter, visit www.suntimes.com/runner. Submissions are accepted through Aug. 25, and voting runs through Sept. 2. Good luck and I hope to see you on the race route. I’ll be the guy daydreaming of pizza with icepacks on both knees, at mile three.
Connect with Jerry via email, at email@example.com, voice mail, at 713-7237, or Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, at jerrydavich.wordpress.com.