Sixth annual Marklund Run, Walk & Roll sets off Oct. 21

Becky Stewart is looking forward to Oct. 21 - the day of the sixth annual Marklund Run, Walk & Roll-Geneva 5K/1 Mile event, at the Marklund Hyde Center, 1S450 Wyatt Drive, Geneva.

Stewart, of Elburn, will join her son Tyler in the event, pushing him in a racing wheelchair. Tyler is a resident of the Marklund Hyde Center.

"The Run, Walk & Roll is absolutely awesome," Stewart said. "We get support from residents who live along the race route. They come out early on a Sunday morning to cheer us on, lining the streets, holding signs and blasting music. It's such a unique race and a unique opportunity."

While the Run, Walk & Roll-Geneva event allows community members to participate in one of the area's premiere races, enjoy delicious food, and support a good cause, the event provides something else for Becky: a way to give back.

She has volunteered for the event since it began in 2013, and has served on the Run, Walk & Roll committee over the past two years.

"I'm so blessed to have Tyler at Marklund," she said. "I look at the opportunities Tyler has been given by living at Marklund, and I don't take that for granted."

The race is open to runners, walkers, and wheelchair riders of all ages. The competitive wheelchair race begins at 7:55 a.m., and the 5K and 1-Mile race starts at 8 a.m.

5K participants can run, walk, or compete using racing wheelchairs on a USATF Certified Course that winds through the adjacent South Mill Creek neighborhood.

The 1-Mile walk shares a portion of the 5K course and is open to individuals and families, as well as those with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs. Therapy dogs are welcome; however, other pets are not allowed. The presenting sponsor for this year's event is Fitch Foundation.

This year's event will include a new twist: a Breakfast Bar sponsored by Buona Beef. "This year, rather than hosting two separate autumn fundraising events - the Run, Walk & Roll and the Pancake Breakfast - we decided to combine them into one event for everyone to enjoy," said race director Stephanie Heinz, Marklund's community events manager. "This way, we're offering the best of both events and opening it to race participants and spectators!"

The Breakfast Bar will feature a wide assortment of menu items including pancakes, scrambled eggs, a doughnut bar, pastries, bananas, bagels, and coffee. Pizza from Pal Joey's and a hot chocolate bar also will be available.

Entry into the Breakfast Bar is included in Run, Walk & Roll registration fee; non-race participants will be charged $5 per person. Advance reservations are not necessary for the Breakfast Bar.

The Run will include a new grand fundraising prize. Those who raise $100 or more will be entered to win a Fitbit Versa. The event also will include a cash prize drawing.

Tickets are $5 per ticket, or $20 for five tickets. The first-place prize is $1,000, second-place prize is $250, and third-place prize is $100.

Since it began, the Run, Walk & Roll-Geneva event has more than doubled,

Heinz said. "The first year, we raised just over $30,000. Our goal this year: to raise $70,000." Sponsorships also have doubled, she said.

The Run, Walk & Roll series - one in October in Geneva and another in Bloomingdale in April - is another way Marklund carries out its mission: to make everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities.

"It's a perfect event for our residents - it's inclusive, and many of our residents' families come out to enjoy the day," Heinz said.

For more information, contact Stephanie Heinz, race director, To register, visit

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