Ullrich hustles to the finish line

OFF AND RUNNING—Santa Claus was on hand to start the first annual Holiday Hustle 5K, a fundraiser to support the Coal City Backpack Program. The Nov. 26 race found over 100 runners hitting the pavement to support the program that provides nutritional foods and snacks to students in need who attend Coal City Schools. Courtesy photo

    As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season gets underway, a different kind of hustle was taking place in Coal City over the weekend.
    The first annual Holiday Hustle 5K stepped off on Sunday, Nov. 26, with 111 registered participants hitting the pavement for a cause, the Coal City Backpack Program.
    Mother Nature provided a perfect day for race. With Santa Claus sounding the horn to start the race, participants took off from Babe’s Tap heading south on Broadway. The course found runners and walkers making their way to Cardinal Transportation on Reed Road where they made the loop to head back into Coal City.
    Connor Ullrich, of Joliet,  was first to cross the finish line with a time of 20:08.91 and Bridget Landers, of Morris, was the first female to make it back with a time of 22:13.61.
    The top 10 finishers in order of placement were Ullrich; James Ator, of Morris; Landers; Bryan Perino, of Coal City; Beth McPherson, of Braidwood; Leigh Anne Hall, of Morris; Kevin Lyons, of Hammond, IN; Dylan Ludes, of Coal City; Jennifer Wicklatz, of Shorewood, and Katie Vignocchi, of Coal City.
    Lori Bonarek, of Lori Bonarek Realty, the lead sponsor of the event, awarded medals for the overall top male and female finishers, as well as the top runners in each of four age divisions.
    Top male finishers in their respective divisions were Perino, 40-99 years; Kyle Ulivi, of Coal City, 30-39 years; Lyons, 20-29 years, and Ator, 10-19 years.
    Top female finishers in their respective divisions were Hall, 40-99 years;  McPherson, 30-39 years; Wicklatz, 20-29 years, and Jenna Super, of Coal City, 10-19 years.
    A number of runners and walkers took advantage of the holiday theme and came dressed in costume. Some even brought their dogs along for the run.
    Music and sound was provided by Scott Patterson of Thunder Productions and location provided by Marv and Kris Perino of Babe’s Tap.
    Proceeds from the race go to support  the Coal City Backpack Program, a nutrition program to help children in need begin each school week with a full heart and nourished body.
    Each week the program provides supplemental food and snacks to students in need in the Coal City Unit 1 School District.
 Organized by local volunteers the event was sponsored by a number of area businesses including Lori Bonarek Realty, Rick Hakey State Farm, Babe’s Tap, D’Orazio Ford, Sunshine Garden Center and Diamond Residential Mortgage Corporation.
    Also, Jerry Hallahan State Farm, Wells Fargo, PinPoint Mortgage, Rolando’s Furniture and Appliance, Shirkey Veterinary Clinic, Home Warranty of America, Guaranteed Rate-Morris, Coal City Dental Center, Sheriff Kevin Callahan, West Flooring Company Inc., village of Coal City, Mack and Associates, Teri Rosendale and Pete Monachello.
    Plans are already in the works for next year. The 2018 Holiday Hustle will be held Sunday, Nov. 25.
    Complete race results can be viewed on the Holiday Hustle Facebook page.