By Matt Nestor
The Rock River Valley Blood Center helped the Rockford area support National Donate Life month by hosting the Red Shoe Run for Donor Awareness Saturday, April 9.
A record turnout showed up to the Northern Illinois University-Rockford campus to participate in the run.
The competitive run was used to raise money for the Rock River Valley Blood Center Marrow Donor Program.
The race was kicked off by special guest starter Connie Payton, the wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “This is wonderful. Everybody is so excited about it and enthused. It is the first race of the year. People do care and want to be involved and they want to make a difference.”
Money was raised for the program through entry fees and by runners gaining pledges before the race.
The race awarded prizes in 14 different age groups, which were sponsored by the family of Carrie Jane Smith, herself a tissue and organ donor.
The top overall male runner was Carl Nuccio of Machesney Park, who clocked in with a time of 16:46.24. Lisa Johnson of Loves Park was the top female with a time of 22:59.25.
Brent Burrows, Benji Bear, Ian Carlson, Darby Haanpaa, Shawn Williams, Gardiner Rynne, Mike Rich, Mike Wiltse, Tom Lichty, Mark Fry, Richard Bowers, Roger Shrum, George Tillett and Tyger Johnson all won their age group for the men, with the ages ranging from 6 years old to older than 70.
Ursula Koch, Molly Smith, Molly Van Vleet, Samantha Holen, Katie Kelly, Amy Lewis, Deanna Hansen, Nicole Palmer, Xan Milne, Dana Coyne, Maxine Byrne, Barbara Harte, Pat Burgy and Jeanne Linden were the top female runners.
From the April 13-19, 2011 issue