The Fall 5K Run/Walk Was a Huge Success!

The sixth annual Play for Peace Fall 5K Run/Walk was special in every way. Drawing more than 300 attendees to the Bartlett Nature Center on September 29, the event raised more than $40,000 and was Play for Peace’s most successful fundraising event to date.

This was very much thanks to event coordinators and organizers Aidan, Lisa, and Mike Hennessy and Play for Peace board members John Guarrine, Mark Havens, and Kevin Creely. They worked tirelessly to put together an incredible program, motivated local businesses and vendors to contribute to the event with food donations and activities, and organized a beautiful glow celebration in honor of World Peace Day and Play for Peace’s 20th anniversary. More than 30 volunteers from Play for Peace, Avalon, Boy Scout Troop 99, and the National Honor Societies from Larkin and South Elgin High Schools ensured a smooth event, which included a 5K run on a USATF certified track.

The crushed limestone trail through beautiful fall scenery inspired Jonathan Roberts and Kayla Baseley, who each won the 5K race in their respective categories. Roberts mastered the track with an official time of 17:27.9, and Baseley flew along in just 27:28.4. The winner of the under 18 male category was 11-year old Adam Woods,with an amazing time of 25:00, and the under 18 female category was dominated by Monica Jaeger, who crossed the finish line in 27:33.3. Congratulations to all of the athletes, as well as to the Woods family for winning the prize for the best glow and costumes.

Aidan Hennessy's fundraising team also outperformed all expectations, raising an incredible $27,500 out of the more than $40,000 raised so far. We are still fundraising to reach our $50,000 goal, and donations can still be made here. The money will be used to support global Play for Peace operations and the coordination of the numerous Play for Peace clubs, which empower children and youth around the globe and offer activities that bring together people from communities in conflict. In the regions where Play for Peace is active, many children do not have access to education or basic services, much less the opportunity for recreational activities and play. Play for Peace provides safe spaces for these children to have fun while learning to cooperate with and accept people of different backgrounds.

Participants of the Fall 5K Run/Walk were able to learn more about Play for Peace and enjoy various activities. A creepy, crawly reptile show put on by the Bartlett Nature Center impressed the audience and a variety of craft activities and games entertained participants of all ages. Many local businesses and organizations supported the event, providing activities and services, as well as food at the International Food Festival, ensuring everyone was well fed after racing and playing.

A special thank you goes out to all of the local vendors and corporate sponsors that supported the event. We'd also like to thank our silent auction donors—the auction featured more than 100 items and raised over $10,000!

After this unforgettable event, the entire Play for Peace community is grateful to the many volunteers, donors, participants, and vendors for coming together in support of Play for Peace. It is because of your efforts that we can continue to bring together children, youth, and organizations in communities in conflict, using the power of cooperative play to create laughter, compassion, and peace.

Check back soon for our next blog on the 2018 Fall 5K Run/Walk to see the event photo album!