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Volunteers come out in droves for Fox Valley Marathon

Published: Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 5:01 p.m. CDT
(Rena Naltsas – For The Kane County Chronicle)
St. Patrick Catholic School volleyball fifth graders hand out food and water to runners at the Fox Valley Marathon in Geneva Sunday morning.

ST. CHARLES – Fox Valley Marathon volunteer Nancy Romer yelled words of encouragement to the runners as they neared the finish line.

"Guess what? Point-2 [miles] and you're through," Romer said, bringing smiles to the faces of a few of the runners as they passed her.

One of the people she was helping cheer on was her sister, Stephanie Farrell, just one of the 2,310-plus runners who competed in Sunday's races. Romer, of Warrenville, said she was happy to provide some inspiration.

"I think it is amazing what these people do," Romer said. "They need people to push them to the end. You want to give them motivation."

More than 1,000 volunteers were stationed along the marathon route from St. Charles to Aurora, performing a variety of tasks and helping ensure the event went smoothly.

"Our volunteers, they're just the best," said Dave Sheble, co-race director and St. Charles resident. "They love being here and they always show that passion."

Stacey Charabowski, 28, a personal trainer in DeKalb running her second Fox Valley Marathon and seventh overall, said the volunteers were there to help her every step of the way.

"They're the nicest volunteers, and the people who run it do such a good job," she said. "It's like they care about every runner. It's awesome."

With bullhorn in hand, Regina Walton, of the Forest Park-based Living Word Christian Center's Kingdom Running Club, urged runners entering the Clark Island Recreation Area in Batavia to push on. The club had about 20 members in the race.

"We want to encourage our runners and other runners," Walton said. "We want to give them the faith to finish."

Meanwhile, Julie Overcash, of Aurora, a volunteer with Dreyer Medical Clinic, was ready to provide medical care to any runner who needed it. Earlier in the day, Overcash helped a man who had developed leg cramps and couldn't finish the race.

"We called a van to take him back to the finish line," Overcash said.

Dreyer Medical Clinic co-worker Rita Fike, of Somonauk, said she was glad to help.

"I am here to support the runners and be with my co-workers," she said.

A wide variety of organizations volunteered at the marathon. Jeanine Fitzmaurice is the owner of St. Charles' Curves, which has volunteered at the marathon since it started. Curves is also a sponsor of the marathon, now in its third year.

Fitzmaurice was helping guide the runners through the Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva along with manning a water station.

"It's a great thing to do," she said. "We like to give back to the community."

Volunteering at the marathon provided a perfect match for the fitness club. Volunteers from several area Curves franchises were helping out at the marathon, including St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva, South Elgin, Elburn and Elmhurst.

"We do strength training that helps a lot of runners," Fitzmaurice said. "It's great to see everybody and cheer them on and give them support."

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