For many, Thanksgiving morning is for running
Bob Fielder has run the Bonfield Express each of the past nine Thanksgivings.“There’s something about running on a holiday. You get up early, run and then you’re energized for the day," Fielder says. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:35AM
HINSDALE — Thanksgiving Day isn’t just about the turkey and trimmings for some residents.
It’s about the running.
Since 1984, runners have flocked to Elmhurst to burn off calories in advance in the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot, which has raised more than $2.3 million over the years for those in need, with funds distributed to various area social programs. More than 6,000 runners participated in recent years.
And in more recent years, thousands of runners work up their Thanksgiving appetites at the Bonfield Express 5K in Downers Grove, which marks its ninth year and draws just over 5,000 runners.
And a bigger crowd means bigger scholarships for area high school students.
“The race is a means to an end,” said Deborah Hare, a member of the organizing committee.
Money raised at the holiday weekend run is given to high school students at Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Westmont and Lisle high schools who demonstrate perseverance and commitment to community — qualities of the race’s namesake, Jim Bonfield. A former teacher, coach and dean of students at Downers Grove South, Bonfield died 2003.
Bob Fielder has run the Bonfield Express race every year since it began. His son Thomas, who now is out of college, was a runner on Hinsdale Central’s cross-country team, and his coach urged the cross-country team to participate.
This Thanksgiving he will run the race with his son, his wife, Nora, and their daughter Elise.
The organizers “run the race right,” Fielder said. “There’s great volunteers, live music and the money from the race goes towards college scholarships.”
He also likes the course for this run.
“It goes up and down and you go through the downtown and there’s several turns,” he said. “There’s something about running on a holiday. You get up early, run and then you’re energized for the day. You go home to prepare the food and you already revved up.”
The run is part of a day for family for Clarendon Hills resident Dave Carter, who will participate in the Bonfield run with his wife, Annette, daughter Gen, 18, and son, Charlie, 11.
Carter played football for the late Jim Bonfield.
“It is kind of personal for me because he was my coach, and my brother-in-law, Will Kupisch, helped organize the run,” Carter said.
Carter said in is a great way for his family to start Thanksgiving.
“Actually, I’ll probably walk, not run,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a good family event, and I guess doing something like this to start the day takes away some of the guilt about knowing you’re going to be eating a lot later in the day.”
Carter said he believes Thanksgiving Day runs are a good idea.
“A lot of people definitely like them,” he said. “I think it’s a nice mid-week break, and, I don’t know, maybe people do feel guilty about the big Thanksgiving meal.”
Sandy Illian Bosch contributed to this article.