Harold “Bud” Swanson is remembered best by those who knew him as a coach not only in sports, but also in life.
The former Glenbard North High School girls' cross country and track coach helped shape high school — and for some, college — athletic careers, but he also taught his students off-the-track lessons they could hold onto forever.
And so, 10 years after Bud's death, his legacy lives on, with dozens of his former student-athletes coming back to do what he loved best: running.
The 10th annual Bud's Run will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Ross Ferraro Town Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road in Carol Stream, just blocks from the school where Bud coached for 16 years.
The event includes a 5K run/walk for all ages at 8 a.m., a 1K fun run for ages 12 and younger at 8:45 a.m., and a “Bud-ding” run for ages 5 and younger.
Bud died in April 2003 — four months after being diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare type of cancer.
It was shortly after his death when his wife, Sharon, decided to organize a run to honor his memory and raise funds for research into the deadly disease.
The previous races have raised a total of about $82,000 for Sarcoma Foundation of America since the first run in 2004, and another $10,000 to $11,000 is expected to be raised this year, according to Sharon Swanson, who serves as the race director.
Some 400 to 500 runners are expected to participate, including many of Bud's former students who are making the trip from other states.
“It's a great time for some of the alumni to get together and reconnect and it's a great time for me to see these girls,” Swanson said. “When my husband coached, I was running as well. He included me in so many of his coaching activities. I got to know all of them very well. We've attended weddings and baby showers. It's just delightful.”
Bud was an accomplished track and cross country coach, leading his teams to conference, district and state championships, including the Class AA cross country state championship in 1994.
“Bud wanted the girls to love running as much as he did. He spent as much time with the slowest runner as he did with the fastest runner. He treated each of them with the same importance,” Swanson said.
“He was really good at seeing the good in people and finding a way to nurture and embrace their good qualities.”
For details, visit budsrun.org. Registration is available on the day of the race.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.