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Three Oak Glen School staffers ran Chicago Marathon to benefit others

By Noah Johnson

LANSING, Ill. (October 20, 2021) – Three Oak Glen Elementary School staff members ran in the Chicago Marathon as part of an effort to raise money for charitable causes.

About 26,000 participants traveled through 29 Chicago neighborhoods at the October marathon, including Assistant Principal Megan Sechowski and Fifth Grade Teacher Jennifer Osman, who raised over $7,000 for the hospital amid their participation. Special Education Teacher Spencer White also ran, raising over $1,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.

Running for a cause

Sechowski said she wanted to give back to the hospital for all it has done for her oldest daughter, who was diagnosed with a complete fetal heart block, resulting in a dangerously slow heart rate before she was born. Her daughter, an 8th grader, also had her fifth heart surgery this summer at the hospital.

In addition, she said “It’s great that the kids see us supporting the things they go through.”

Osman, a lifelong runner, said she never ran a marathon before because she didn’t think she needed to. But she decided to team up with Sechowski to support the cause. The two trained together as much as they could, often conducting workouts before work as early as 4:30 a.m.

“It’s different when you run for a purpose rather than just your own competition,” Osman said. “It was special to at least try to experience at least some of the discomfort [Megan’s daughter] has in her little life.”

The three ran most of the race together on the hot and humid day, maintaining a “support system while running, to kind of hold each other accountable,” said Sechowski, who started running after her third daughter was born around 2012 or 2013. Since then she and her husband have aimed to run two marathons a year. They’ve run in New York, Houston, and California.

The three runners pose after their marathon. (Photo provided)

Mental toughness

Amid her own medical conditions, running serves as a way to prove that “she isn’t broken” she said, noting that’s a mentality she wants to instill in her students and her daughter.

“No matter what’s going on in your life, you’re capable of doing anything you put your mind to,” she added.

Osman feels similarly, especially amid a year characterized by challenges during the pandemic.

“[My students] had been on their own for so long that I don’t think they knew the difference between what was supposed to feel hard and what was just feeling hard for them,” she said. “So every time they say ‘this is really hard,’ another one of the kids pops up and says ‘not as hard as running a marathon.’”

Oak Glen Elementary School is located at 2101 Ridge Road in Lansing.

Noah Johnson
Noah Johnson
Noah Johnson is a journalist from Dolton, Illinois. In addition to the reporting he has done for The Lansing Journal, Noah has covered issues in Northern Illinois, North Carolina, and suburban Cook County. In his free time he enjoys listening to podcasts, cooking, and journaling.