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Record 6,200 participants run, walk in Bonfield Express in memory of DGS teacher

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 10:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 10:39 a.m. CDT
(Dianne V. Hlinsky)
High school mascots from Downers Grove North (from left) (Paul Jannusik), Hinsdale Central (David Makdah), Westmont (Matt Niemeyer) and Downers Grove South (Sam Ebersold) greet runners at the Bonfield Express race on Thursday morning in Downers Grove. (Submitted photo)
(Dianne V Hlinsky)
Runners compete in the Bonfield Express race on Thursday morning in Downers Grove. (Submitted photo)

DOWNERS GROVE – On a chilly Thanksgiving morning in downtown Downers Grove, the Bonfield Express 5K Run/Walk celebrated its 10th anniversary race with more than 6,200 people registered, a new record for the race.

It began in 2004 to honor the memory of Downers Grove South father, teacher, dean and coach Jim Bonfield and works to further his message of character, community and commitment.

The top male finishers in Thursday’s Bonfield Express 5K were Ryan Clevenger of Downers Grove, Aaron Silver of Downers Grove and Dan Phistry of Westmont.

The top female finishers were Sarah Jane Kerwin, Krista Moylan of Palos Park and Alyssa Poremba of Bridgeview.

The race attracts not only competitive runners but also a large cross section of the community who turn out to walk and socialize with others in their community on Thanksgiving morning.

To kick off the race, Elizabeth Brunell and Anna Burton, both students at Downers Grove North High School, sang the National Anthem for the assembled crowd.Then, Grant Crist, a 2011 Downers Grove North graduate and Bonfield scholarship recipient, had the honor of sounding the horn that signaled the start of the race.

Crist, who is home recuperating from a bicycle accident last summer in Australia that left him critically injured, will resume his studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder next semester.

“I wanted to foster that community aspect and encourage the runners to pursue their dreams,” he said in a news release. “They came together for me, and I was just paying it back.”

A post-race party was held in the Downers Grove Parking Garage and featured complimentary food and beverages by Whole Foods and Caribou Coffee.

Since 2004, the Bonfield Express Foundation has distributed more than $200,000 in scholarships to more than 100 west suburban seniors attending high school at Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Lisle and Westmont high schools.

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