The 14th Annual St. Paddy’s Day 5K presented by Naperville Sunrise Rotary stepped off on Sat., March 11, 2023, with 1,026 runners, walkers, and strollers ready to enjoy the St. Paddy’s Day festivities while giving back to community organizations supporting local youth and families.
The event, sponsored by Gerald Cares and Naperville Running Company, raised money for Naperville YMCA Safe n’ Sound scholarships, Inside Out Club scholarships and character-building activities for youth, and Little Friends’ Respite program for families of young people with special needs.
“It’s fantastic to see all these people come together,” said Race Director and Sunrise Rotarian Ryan Siebert. “It’s not just about the run, it’s about what we can do for the community.”
Coming in as first males overall were Patrick Letz of Aurora at 14:53, Darren Barlow of Chicago at 14:55 and Joe Cowlin of Chicago at 14:58. Female first finishers were Kristina King of Chicago at 17:00, followed by Sarah David of Chicago at 17:12 and Maggie Graham of Arlington Heights at 17:14.
The youngest winners were Ellie Virgilio, 7 of Roselle and Frank Bushell, 9 of Naperville. The oldest runners in the top three for their age group were Besty Roche, age 75, of Naperville, and Mike McGrath, age 82, of Naperville.
Adding to the festive spirit were runners of all ages dressed in bright green shirts, hats, tutus, shamrock headbands, knee socks and leggings. Runners ran in top hats, leprechaun beards and oversized green glasses. Winner of the Costume contest was Jennifer Marvin of Naperville who sported the requisite tutu and knee socks along with a t-shirt that read “Irish I was faster.”
As is tradition, the post-race party featured green beer and corned beef sandwiches.
Siebert noted that the Rotary Club was pleased to see the run return for the second year since being canceled in 2020 and run virtually in 2021.
“Last year people were a little unsure to come back, and of course the weather was freezing, but this time the community seemed really excited again,” Siebert said. “It’s great to see how people are reengaged and how sponsors have come back to us. It all helps us give to community charities. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
For more information about the Rotary Club of Naperville-Sunrise, visit www.napervillesunrise.org.
Story and photos submitted by Deb Newman for Rotary Club of Naperville-Sunrise.