ISPD District 5 team back for St. Jude Runs
By Brian Stanley email@example.com August 1, 2013 10:00PM
Illinois State Police Sgt. Scott Angus runs through Channahon Tuesday to train for the 170-mile relay to benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital. | Brian Stanley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2013 7:38AM
Running from Downers Grove to Peoria offers the Illinois State Police troopers in the annual St. Jude’s Runs a look at parts of the state they only see once a year.
“You need some legs going up the hill of Lemont Road just after the bridge in Lemont. That’s toward the beginning, but it’s the hardest climb,” Sgt. Scott Angus said.
On Friday and Saturday, Angus and others will take part for the eighth year as the state police District 5 team in the 170-mile fundraiser, one of several routes where runners will raise funds to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The Memphis-based hospital, where no child is turned away regardless of their ability to pay, has five affiliates, including the Midwest Clinic in Peoria.
The relay runs in Illinois use routes from various towns to Peoria, where the runners meet those who have made the original run from Memphis to Peoria, where St. Jude’s annual telethon is being held. Since 1982, the 456-mile relay run has raised about $13 million for the hospital.
Like Angus, George Del Rio, Keith Malek, Shelley Cox and Stacie Eschman are District 5 troopers. Cox was named the district’s Officer of the Year on Wednesday, and Eschman is a former St. Jude’s patient.
Dan Erickson, who now works in District 7, former trooper Ryan McNulty, Hanover Park police officer Tim McNulty and Del Rio’s friend, Rich Brothers, will join the District 5 troopers on the only relay team made up mostly of police officers.
“Brothers is a civilian who lives in South Carolina, but he likes to run and we needed a fill-in one year so he’s been with us,” Angus said.
Cox runs a race every weekend, while this is the only running event that Angus participates in. Each team member raises at least $1,250 through donations.
“St. Jude’s takes the worst cases and relieves the parents of financial concerns on top of everything else they have to deal with,” Angus said. “It was the best cause we could choose to support.”
The relay run that the District 5 team is participating in begins with a 8:30 a.m. rally at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, and the runners are expected to reach Lemont about 11 a.m. Escorted by Cook County sheriff’s police and District 5 troopers, the runners will go down 147th Street to Gougar Road and pass through Lockport, New Lenox and Joliet before taking Schweitzer Road to Illinois 53 and heading on to Wilmington and Braidwood. The runners will be encouraged with free food about 6 p.m. when they pass the Polk-A-Dot Drive-In in Braidwood.
At least one runner is expected to do every leg of the relay, while the others rest in a recreational vehicle. The legs during the middle of the day are much shorter than those at night that are up to six miles.
Angus said the cooler weather that’s expected this weekend during the daytime will be better than in some years past, where the route has “turned the corner into cornfields five or six feet high and (you feel) like you’re walking into an oven.”
The shortest leg is the 1.3 miles leading to the small village of Roanoke, which every team member runs. Roanoke was the home of Amy Schwind, a 12-year-old girl whose battle with cancer inspired the founder of the relay.
Many in Roanoke (population about 2,000) line the relay route to cheer on the runners, who enjoy a luncheon in the village and some time in the community swimming pool, which is opened just for the runners.
Besides the emotional celebration, the dip in the pool is the highlight of the trip for other reasons.
“After everyone’s been running for a day, you can only spray Febreze so much in that RV,” Angus said.
The teams should reach Peoria at 4 p.m. Saturday, with time to shower and rest before attending the St. Jude’s telethon to present their donations.
Contributions are accepted through October. For information, contact Rodrigo Leonas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 784-6704.