'A special day' for 21st Lew Blond run

It began to drizzle about five minutes after the 21st Lew Blond Memorial 5K Run/Walk fundraiser ended at 10:01 a.m. May 21 at Maple School.

It didn't dampen anyone's spirits.

Maple School principal and Lew Blond Run executive director Sam Kurtz, with race director Greg Itahara, were relieved and thrilled to see more than 550 participants take part in the 5K and 1-mile run.

More than 35 children ages 6 and younger enjoyed the first Little Lew 50-yard dash. The mascots from Maple, Willowbrook and Wescott schools welcomed the young sprinters to the finish line.

"Today was amazing. It was so nice being back at Maple again. All of my friends and family that were there loved it," said Northbrook resident and former District 30 parent Meredith Ade, also on the Lew Blond Run Executive Committee.

This is the first Lew Blond Run that has taken place at the new Maple School, 2370 Shermer Road, Northbrook. District 30 had planned on running the event in 2020, but COVID-19 got in the way of those plans. There was a smaller version of the race held at Wescott School in October 2021.

Funds raised from this event are donated for ALS research through the Les Turner ALS Foundation, used for scholarships at Glenbrook High Schools District 225, and for special Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 projects.

This year the first Lew Blond online auction also took place, and was deemed successful by organizer, District 30 community member and Northbrook resident Ritu Singal.

The Lew Blond Run fundraiser was initiated after beloved Maple School applied technology teacher Lew Blond lost his battle with ALS in 2000. Every year since, his family has attended the event. This year was no different. His 97-year-old mother, Mariette Blond, and sister, Barb Blond, were at the race, and were so happy to see the ongoing support of the community.

"What a special day," Kurtz said. "I am grateful to staff and community volunteers for their help and support to make this a memorable and meaningful event for the community and District 30. Thank you to all of you for your commitment and teamwork to make this race a huge success."

Northbrook resident Mark Dolgin, 39, was the first to cross the finish line in the 5K at a time of 17 minutes, 30 seconds. Lisa Malkov, 43, of Wheeling was the first female finisher at 22:24.

Ten-year-old Eric Baczewski won the mile run in 7:08. Molly Blunck, 30, of Arlington Heights placed fourth overall and first among women at 7:37.

"Everything was so well organized. I am so proud of everyone who put this beautiful event together," District 30 Superintendent Brian Wegley said.

Glenbrook North senior Wes Fagin, center, was the winner of the 2021 Lew Blond Run Scholarship. Congratulating him are District 30 Superintendent Brian Wegley, left, and Maple School principal and Lew Blond Run executive director Sam Kurtz. Courtesy of Beth Preis/District 30
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