Underachievers unite to support the arts and Cancer Support Center

Runners tend to dress in shorts and light shirts to help with comfort and performance. Angela Brozowski came to the Homewood Business Association's first 0.3K "run" on Saturday dressed as a unicorn.

"It makes me fast and glittery," she said. "I can run on rainbows, soar over everybody."

It was that kind of race.

At 0.3K, the route was about two blocks long in downtown Homewood. Rabid Brewing was on hand, serving a free beer to registered participants at the starting line. The course included a pitstop in the second block so runners could fortify themselves with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Starbucks coffee.

After crossing the finish line, runners and walkers recovered from their labors with more beer, more doughnuts, a drink from Copper Still Martini Bar and a piece of pizza from Aurelio's.

Local R&B band Staff Infection performed at the north end of Martin Square.
Organizers had expected about 200 participants would sign up for the event that raised money for the Cancer Support Center and Homewood's new arts council. By noon, registrations reached 325. 

Brozowski was far from the only participant in costume. There was a group with doughnut heads, a group of tutu-clad fairy types, a group of Pac-man people, a Forest Gump and a disembodied head in a cage that was clasped by Death.

Helping serve beer was a Slender Man-type character.

During the post-race party, organizers Greg and Darcie Loudon, Julie Lawton and Suzy Moore wandered through the crowd and assessed the costumes. 

They chose the Pac-man people — Kauren Kreis, Lisa and Wesley Lynch, Amanda McCoy and Michelle Sloan — as the Best Costume. Coming in second place was the six-armed Super Mom, Alexandra Green, accompanied by her sidekick, daughter Imani.

A number of participants did interviews with the HBA Sports Network, created specifically for the event, with reporter Priscilla Cordero and camerwoman Anne Colton. 

Imani was one of the interview subjects. She told Cordero she trained for the event by eating an apple doughnut with her dad, Joshua Green. Her dad reminded her that she had also done some pushups, so she was ready to compete.

Alexandra said the family really had trained for racing this summer. She competed in the Chicago Triathalon and took her two kids with her on workouts. 

Although she's a real competitor, she appreciated the dramatically dialed-back tone of the 0.3K run. 

"People get so excited about the distance and the competition aspect of it," she said. "Sometimes we forget, including myself, to actually have fun."

She joked that she was really in it for the bumper sticker each participant received, which read, "I survived the Homewood 0.3K."

"I think it's hilarious," she said.

She also had a more important reason to participate. She and her husband are both professors in the arts at Prairie State College. She's in music. He's in communications and theater.

"I'm really excited to support a performing arts center in the community," she said. "It's important to start building a strong foundation of performance for our youth."

In addition to raising money for the Cancer Support Center, the run was the first fundraiser to support the new Homewood Arts Council, formed to provide support and networking for artists and to assist the village in developing a performing arts center, a project that has been under discussion for some time.

The organizers, who are leaders in HBA but also founders of the arts council, said they were in some awe of the community's response to the event.

"The amount of people who came exceeded our expections withhout question," Lawton said. "We really support each other."

She noted especially the support of sponsors Aurelio's Pizza, Copper Still Martini Bar, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Rabid Brewing, Staff Infection and Starbucks Coffee for donating time and products for the event. 

"The costumes were remarkable, so creative," Greg Loudon said. "It's another plug for the type of people who live in Homewood and this area."

HBA's Moore said she was impressed with the enthusiasm people exhibited for the event and for the cause. She pledged that the group would go for "bigger and better next year."


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