Running a short distance can sometimes go a long way
by Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (September 9, 2018) – About 60 people stood at the starting line near the Lansing clock tower Saturday morning to run a peculiar distance: 0.1 kilometers. Starting at 11:45am, the third annual “For God & Country Run, Walk or Crawl” ended less than three minutes later.
A combination of generosity and humor, the annual 328-foot race is put on by St. John Lutheran Church, and this year they donated its proceeds to St. John Lutheran School, the Patti Leach Youth Center, and the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club for their annual Veteran’s Dinner.
At 11:15 under an overcast sky, Lansing’s Veterans Memorial Honor Guard presented the colors before the crowd sang the National Anthem. After prayer, Lansing resident and Honor Guard member Dave Conley led the runners in a comically extensive series of stretches, saying with a wry smile, “For those of you who are new, I won’t work you too hard.”
Race organizer and St. John’s member Tina Funchion gathered participants at the starting line and yelled, “On your marks, get set, go!” before some ran and others walked the short stretch.
Halfway through the grass course sat a water cooler and wagon labeled “Roadside Assistance” for anyone who might need help reaching the finish line.
The purpose of the race is to “have fun and raise some money at the same time,” Funchion said, who started planning the run in April with the rest of her church committee.
The money raised by the run came from registration fees, event sponsors, and an “Action Team Grant” from Thrivent Financial, a nonprofit financial services company with a branch in Lansing.
“When we originally started [the run], we were just looking for a way to get St. John’s into the community, have fun, and help out a few organizations at the same time,” Funchion said.
Those organizations are all nonprofits based in Lansing. The first, St. John’s Lutheran School, is attached to the church and serves students in preschool through eighth grade. The Patti Leach Youth Center is operated by the Village and allows children in middle and high school to socialize in a safe environment. The Lansing Junior Woman’s Club is a group of Lansing women who enjoy serving the community and annually organize a Veteran’s Dinner.
After the run, participants walked to the nearby American Legion building where American Legion Riders served hot dogs for lunch.
“Fun and fellowship would be our tagline, I guess,” Funchion said, “A fun run for anyone.”