For those who aren’t running, there’s still a different way to participate in the upcoming Naperville Marathon.
“I am coordinating different cheer groups along the course, whether it be an organization, or neighborhood, or a school,” said Kristy Lehner, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator.
Lehner is just one of three neighborhood outreach coordinators that are working to bring support and encouragement for runners through their long journey.
There are about 50 groups ranging from neighborhoods, schools, churches and businesses.
“It’s a way for them to be a part of the marathon, without actually having to do the running or training for it. It also brings the community together and I would also like to see different competition between the different neighborhoods and schools,” said Lehner.
Marathon organizers hope to develop a sense of community and culture through the neighborhood participation, but ultimately hope it boosts the runners to finish strong.
“I want to see runners that when they’re at mile 18, and they’re hitting a wall, they’re exhausted, that they’re still looking up, seeing people cheering, ringing cow bells, making noise, holding signs, and it gives them that boost,” said Mike Wasilewski, Neighborhood Outreach Manager. “I want the runners to feel supported at every step of the race.”
runners agree that the support is vital with every stride they take.
“Your mind is playing games with you, when you start seeing people on the side of the road cheering you on, it really really helps, you have no idea,” said Naperville Marathon Runner, Jim Mondek. “Sometimes it just puts chills down your back. It gives you inspiration to keep going.”
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