NU hosts 5K to benefit Special Olympics

Amy Whyte

Northwestern students, Evanston residents and runners from the Chicago area gathered Sunday at the Lakefill for the biannual Northwestern to Benefit Special Olympics 5K.

The 5K, which is held in late October and early May each year, usually draws from 40 to 80 runners, said Anna Rhoad, co-chair of the NU to Benefit Special Olympics sports committee. This race raised about $600 and included 45 participants.

“We usually get a pretty good mix – people who come from Chicago, grad students, community members who hear about it and want to support the cause,” Rhoad said.

The spring 5K is one of many fundraisers the group hosts each year in support of athletes with disabilities.

“We run a lot of races, and we usually try to pick ones that we think are for a good cause,” said Laura Butts, 29.

Butts, an Evanston resident, ran with her husband, Chris, a 2010 graduate from NU’s School of Law. They said that not only were they glad to support the cause, but the race was also a good way for Chris to train for his upcoming triathlon.

Ken Traisman, 54, of Lincolnwood, Ill., also participated as practice for an upcoming race – a marathon in June.

“I ran this 5K last year, too,” Traisman said. “It’s a great venue, the campus is beautiful and it supports a great cause.”

In addition to runners training for longer races, the 5K also attracted a variety of other participants. Emily Wilson, a Bienen junior, said she found out about the 5K just the night before the event.

NU to Benefit Special Olympics, the largest and oldest collegiate chapter to be affiliated with Special Olympics, also hosts NU’s Got Talent, End the R Word and Young Athletes All-Star Day. Young Athletes is a division of Special Olympics consisting of children two to seven years old.

“Kids with and without disabilities are allowed to participate (in Young Athletes),” Rhoad said. “It’s cool because usually when one child has a disability, siblings end up doing separate things, but in Young Athletes, the siblings get to participate too.”

The 5K race, which began at 10 a.m., awarded prizes to male and female runners who finished first, second and third in their divisions. Peter Mone, a runner from Winnetka, Ill., earned the fastest time, finishing in 17 minutes and six seconds.

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