Carol Stream marathoner won't miss Bud's Run
Stacey Rosch, 22, of Carol Stream, shares fond memories of the late Bud Swanson.
"He was always so excited about running," Rosch said of Swanson, who for 18 years coached Glenbard North High School girls cross country and track and field.
Even when Swanson retired after 36 years as school psychologist, he stayed on to coach the students, who were inspired by his enthusiasm and words of encouragement, humor and love of life.
"He loved coaching," said wife, Sharon Swanson, who has stayed in contact with many of the girls after her husband's death in 2003.
"He wanted us to have his love for running," Rosch said, crediting her coach for her dedication to running and her healthy lifestyle. Running earned her a college scholarship, putting her on the path to her career as a nurse at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
"Although I ran in junior high, I didn't have a passion for running," she said.
Her attitude changed once she began running with Swanson as her mentor. His dedication to the sport made a lasting impact on her life, she says.
In October, Rosch ran the Chicago Marathon with a time of 3:31. She followed that up by running the famous Boston Marathon on April 20 in an impressive 3:34.
"It's a harder marathon," Rosch said of the Boston run compared to the Chicago Marathon. To run in Boston, Rosch needed to qualify by running the Chicago Marathon in less than 3:40.
Rosch's parents, Fred and Mary Lou, have been supportive.
"We're very proud of Stacey," her mom said. "She is very dedicated to her running."
Rosch's commitment can be traced to Swanson's enthusiasm, Mary Lou Rosch said.
The Rev. Thomas Schutter of Carol Stream's St. Luke Parish likewise is proud of Rousch's achievements.
"I have a good human interest story for you," Schutter said excitedly of Rosch's participation in the Boston Marathon. "It's good to give our young people credit."
Rosch plans to run other marathons in the future, but as important, she intends to run in the Bud Swanson Memorial 5K Run/Walk, respectfully referred to as Bud's Run. Rosch and many former high school runners have participated in Bud's Run since its inception in June 2003 following Swanson's death at age 62.
Swanson died from sarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer.
"It's so rare that it is not usually diagnosed early on," said Sharon Swanson, who also is the director of the annual run.
She noted that not only does the event raise money for further research through the Sarcoma Foundation of America, but it has raised awareness of this form of cancer.
More than $10,000 was raised by last year's event, putting the total raised at more than $50,000.
This year's event is June 27. Check-in and on-site registration begin at 7 a.m. at the Ross Ferraro Town Center, Gary Avenue at Lies Road. The 5K, over a USATF-certified course, begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 1K Fun Run at 8:30 a.m.
"There will even be the Little Buddy Run for the real little kids - 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds," Sharon Swanson said.
Prizes will be awarded in each category to the overall top male and female finisher and the top three finishers in each age group. Ribbons will be awarded to all Fun Runners age 12 and younger.
Registration fees are $22 per individual through June 24, $27 after; $60 per family through June 24, $75 after. Entry for the Fun Run is $5.
For information and online registration, go to budsrun.org.
As noted online, "Through this race we remember and celebrate the life of Bud Swanson."
• Jenny Casale writes about Carol Stream occasionally in Neighbor.