Lousy weather couldn’t dampen spirits at the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K Oct. 15.
More than a thousand runners and walkers were joined by hundreds of volunteers at the annual race, which started and finished at Woodstock North High School, winding its way through residential streets on the north side of Woodstock on a rainy, blustery morning.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this windy,” said Woodstock’s Leo Ayala, a volunteer who was posted at the corner of Roger Road and Manke Lane, where he directed racers. Still, he said, he’d likely be back next year if his friend, Maria Esquivel, asked him to volunteer again.
“I like helping, and it’s a good opportunity to get some service hours,” said Esquivel, a junior at Woodstock High School who was among a group of students earning volunteer hours for honors at school.
Former Woodstock resident Roger Manke, who now lives in Valders, Wis., stood nearby at his eponymous intersection to watch a family friend run in the race. (The neighborhood was built on his family farm, which explains the coincidence.) He was one of a number of spectators who gathered along the route to cheer on the participants.
“It’s kind of special to have him run through the farm,” Manke said.
The race is a major fundraiser for Crystal Lake-based nonprofit Family Health Partnership Clinic, which uses the proceeds to fund breast cancer screenings, exams, education and mammograms for uninsured and underinsured patients in McHenry County.
“I think it was another great year. We had a lot of really high winds, which was a challenge, but all of our volunteers did a great job making things work and fighting through the challenges that the weather brought,” said Liz Annetti, FHPC’s events coordinator. The race, now in its 17th year, was expected to bring in more than $142,000, Annetti said, and the organization still is accepting donations at hpclinic.org.
Annetti said despite the early-morning rain and temperatures in the 50s, about 1,400 runners and walkers showed up for the race. The same went for about 400 volunteers, many of whom arrived early in the morning to set up.
“It’s a good way to give back,” said John Oslovich, who coaches the Woodstock North baseball team. He had a crew of six players helping out at a water station on Haydn Street. The team has sent members to the event for years, he said.
A group of volunteers from Mercyhealth helped to run the same water station. Kelly Howard of Crystal Lake said she and her fellow employees had worked at the event for years, but added the race had special significance this time, because a nurse at Mercy Harvard Hospital was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
“You just walk away from here feeling good,” Howard said.