An annual fundraiser honoring the life of a 10-year-old murder victim returns to Naperville next month with a new theme and hopefully some "new excitement," organizers say.
The 12th annual Jeanine Nicarico Run for Reading -- dubbed the Glow 5K Run for Reading -- is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Fifth Avenue Station, 200 E. Fifth Ave. For the first time, the fundraiser will take place at night, and participants are being asked to help illuminate the 5K course by wearing glow sticks.
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If you goWhat: Glow 5K Run for Reading
Why: Benefits the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy, which supports reading programs in Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204
When: Registration from 8 to 11 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1; race begins at 8 p.m.
Where: Fifth Avenue Station, 200 E. Fifth Ave., Naperville
Cost: $30 in advance; $35 on race day
"The participants are going to be the decorations, the flair," race director Tracey Nelson said. "The more glow they have on them, the more it's going to light up the route."
Sponsored by the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy, the event supports reading programs in Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204. Jeanine's family established the fund more than a decade ago and has since raised more than $200,000.
Nelson said organizers wanted to freshen up the fundraiser with a new location and theme this year because similar events were becoming more common at local schools, and "the (attendance) numbers were getting a little stagnant."
"We wanted to add some new life, add some new excitement," Nelson said.
In addition to the new theme, there will be an after-party with live music by Tres Moustache, food and drinks from several local restaurants, and a beer tent.
Participants can walk or run the course, which follows Plank Road east to Tuthill Road, near Naper Boulevard, where they will turn around and retrace their steps to Fifth Avenue. Awards will be given to men and women in nine age groups, and also to a team and individual runner who shows the "most glow."
This year marks three decades since Jeanine was abducted from her Naperville home and murdered by convicted killer Brian Dugan. Nelson said the fundraiser is a positive way to honor Jeanine, who struggled with reading and had a knack for helping other children.
"We try to focus on the good," she said. "I know it's special to the family to see all the people that come out and really honor Jeanine. It's very near and dear to the heart."
Entry fees are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the event. Discounts are available to members of the Chicago Area Runners Association.
To register, visit www.nicaricoliteracyfund.org. Participants also can sign up at the Fifth Avenue Station parking lot from 8 to 11 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 1.