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updated: 4/21/2012 4:06 PM

'Human Race' raises money for 27 DuPage causes

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  • Barry Brandt, 54, of Villa Park wins the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk held Saturday in Danada Forest Preserve. A total of 1,000 runners and walkers participated.

       Barry Brandt, 54, of Villa Park wins the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk held Saturday in Danada Forest Preserve. A total of 1,000 runners and walkers participated.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Barry Brandt, 54, of Villa Park wins the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk held in Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Race participants raised money for the local charity of their choice. Brandt's winning time was 17:49.

       Barry Brandt, 54, of Villa Park wins the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk held in Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Race participants raised money for the local charity of their choice. Brandt's winning time was 17:49.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard, was the first woman to finish the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk Saturday in Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Participants raised money for one of 27 DuPage County-area nonprofits. Her finishing time was 20:16.

       Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard, was the first woman to finish the inaugural Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk Saturday in Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Participants raised money for one of 27 DuPage County-area nonprofits. Her finishing time was 20:16.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Running along the equestrian track at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton, race participants Saturday head to the finish line of the first Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk hosted by Giving DuPage.

       Running along the equestrian track at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton, race participants Saturday head to the finish line of the first Human Race, a 5K run and 2-mile walk hosted by Giving DuPage.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard finishes first among women runners in the Human Race 5K on Saturday at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Race participants raised money for one of 27 local charities of their choice. Wagner's finishing time was 20:16.

       Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard finishes first among women runners in the Human Race 5K on Saturday at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. Race participants raised money for one of 27 local charities of their choice. Wagner's finishing time was 20:16.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

It's not everyone who can run a 5K. And it's not every charitable organization that can organize one.

But a new race Saturday morning brought together 1,000 runners and walkers with 27 small nonprofit organizations that wouldn't have been able to host a fundraiser run on their own.

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Called The Human Race and modeled after a similar event in California, the 5K run and 2K walk was a solid start to what Giving DuPage Executive Director Kathy Blair said she hopes will become an even larger gathering in the future.

"Our mission is to bring all the agencies together who could not organize their own 5Ks," Blair said.

The race's 1,000 participants raised money for DuPage County area nonprofits including Prairie State Legal Services, the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association and the Naperville Woman's Club.

"It's a great starting point," Blair said about the first race. "But next year, we plan to move to a new location and be bigger."

Fundraising totals weren't available Saturday because, in a sense, the race to raise money isn't over. Donations will be accepted until Tuesday, May 1, and will continue to go mostly to the individual agencies with a portion for Giving DuPage to cover costs of hosting the event.

Blair said the money raised by two of the race's smaller nonprofits -- PACT, which aims to help people with disabilities lead supported, engaged and meaningful lives, and Literacy DuPage, which provides personalized English training -- was especially impressive.

"What's been very cool is to see some of our small groups really promoting this and being successful," she said.

PACT brought about 100 runners to the event wearing navy blue shirts bearing the organization's name and slogan. PACT board member Michael Welgat of Wheaton said runners were glad for Giving DuPage's assistance in hosting the 5K.

"We're not quite big enough to do it ourselves and neither are these other organizations, so it's a good cooperative setup," Welgat said.

Literacy DuPage volunteer tutor Lisa Lam of Naperville said she walked to support the organization's students who make time every week to study English in an effort to become more independent and successful.

"I think it's great to see all these different causes here," Lam said. "It's a neat idea. Everyone all comes together.

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