Hinsdale Rotary's Charity Classic marks quarter century of giving back
Last updated 9/25/2019 at 3:16pm | View PDF
The Rotary Run Charity Classic turns 25 this year as runners and walkers take to the streets Sunday, Oct. 6, at The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St. in Hinsdale. The fundraiser's legacy is one of both promoting fitness as family fun and supporting philanthropic outreach.
Since its inaugural event in 1995, the Charity Classic has generated more than $2 million to support local and international organizations and projects.
"It's a big part of what we do in terms of service. Service to the community is at the core of what Rotary is all about," said Tom Norton, president of The Rotary Club of Hinsdale.
The morning's festivities begin with the Hinsdale Bank & Trust 10K run, followed by The Rooney Family 5K run and MPS-Loria 3K Run. All are CARA-certified races that wind through the historic streets of Hinsdale and end back at The Community House. Several walk events follow the runs (see sidebar for a full listing).
Norton said a concerted marketing effort in conjunction with the special milestone year has helped boost registration.
"We're ahead of our registration from the last four or fire years at this point," he said. "We've set a goal for 1,000 registrations. I think we've got a really good chance of doing that."
Phil Rooney will serve as the grand marshal this year, representing the family that was a founding sponsor of the event and continues to play an integral part.
Rooney said he and his family are proud of helping give life to such an impactful tradition.
"Our family supports the Rotary Run Charity Classic because it has provided millions of dollars in funding for such local organizations as The Community House, the District 181 Foundation, Hinsdale Hospital Foundation, Ray Graham Association and the Rotary Club of Hinsdale Foundation," he wrote in an email.
People can stick around after the completion of the runs and walks to enjoy activities that include vendor/sponsor booths, refreshments and music. The District 181 Mascot Race has become one of the most popular attractions. Students from each of the district's nine schools dress up in their respective mascot costume to try to bring home bragging rights.
"It's really turning into a family affair. The schools are really into it," Norton said.
Rotary member and Charity Classic chairman Tom Cunningham said local merchants are chipping in with their own fundraisers.
"For the entire month of September, the Fuller House in Hinsdale will donate 15 percent of each Charity Burger purchased to the Rotary Foundation," he said. "And The Country House in Clarendon Hills will donate 15 percent of all food purchased from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 to the Rotary Run."
Those efforts reflect the broad-based assistance the event receives.
"I think that exemplifies the commitment from the community to support (the Charity Classic) and the continuous efforts of the Hinsdale Rotarians, as well as the continuing support we've gotten from the various community organizations and the local businesses," Cunningham said.
Norton said other Rotary activities such as presenting bikes to children of military service members and the Fourth of July turtle races are also made possible by the proceeds from the Charity Classic.
"It's all tied into the race. This is our main fundraiser. The race is who are in many ways," he said.
And the organization is always gratified post-race to deliver the funds to each of the beneficiary organizations.
"It is a very mutually beneficial thing," he said.
Hinsdale Rotary is part of Rotary International's global network of more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas working to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; help mothers and children; and grow local economies.
Seeing families come out and have fun on a hopefully beautiful fall day is always a shot in the arm for organizers, who have been planning the fundraiser since December, Norton remarked.
"We're just really hopeful that the event will turn out as well as all the work that has gone into it," he said.
To register, make a donation or to get more information, visit https://www.rotaryruncharityclassic.org.
At your pace
The 25th annual Rotary Run Charity Classic features opportunities for all to participate. Below are the different events with their start times. Register by tomorrow, Sept. 27, to receive the early-bird rate of $25 for individuals and $90 for families of four or more (on Sept. 28 fees rise to $30/$110). The Walk 'n' Roll and Mutt Strut are $20. Tomorrow is also the last day to guarantee your race shirt size. Visit https://www.rotaryruncharityclassic.org.
• Hinsdale Bank & Trust 10K Run, 8:30 a.m.
• The Rooney Family 5K Run, 8:45 a.m.
• MPS-Loria 3K Run, 8:50 a.m.
• Molex 5K Walk, 8:55 a.m.
• Napleton Porsche 3K Walk, 8:55 a.m.
• The Birches Walk 'n Roll, 9:30 a.m.
• Mutt Strut Dog Walk, 8:55 a.m.