Downers's Grove's annual Thanksgiving race, the Bonfield Express 5K, has once again registered a record number of runners.
More than 5,100 people signed up for the race through Sunday, enough to surpass last year's total, according to a post on the Bonfield Express Facebook page.
In 2010, about 4,200 runners participated in the race, organizers said.
The Bonfield Express 5K will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. As originally planned, the course will begin and end in downtown Downers Grove.
This year, however, the course will make a loop around the downtown area to the west—in reverse of its usual pattern—through Denburn Woods before heading back downtown. The course will also include a new segment to the east, which passes through the Randall Park area before ending at its customary location at Curtiss Street and Mochel Drive.
Bonfield Express Race Director Will Kupisch said he believes many race participants will prefer the new course, and called the construction delays downtown "a blessing in disguise."
“We’re as excited as ever for the ninth annual race, and the modified course does nothing to take away from the pizazz of the event," Kupisch said. "In fact, we are cautiously optimistic that this could be the preferred course going forward. It maintains the integrity of the former course, including safety, distance and enjoyability of the race experience.”
The Downers Grove-based Bonfield Foundation is a not-for-profit that aims to build character and community commitment in high school students. It was founded in memory of Downers Grove South teacher Jim Bonfield, who died in October 2003 after battling Hodgkin’s Disease, leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis.
Since 2004, the foundation has awarded more than $185,000 in scholarships to 90 west suburban seniors in Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lisle and Westmont who reflect Bonfield's personal example of character, perseverance and love of community. Fourteen scholarships were awarded in 2012 alone.
Each year, the Bonfield Express 5K attracts thousands of runners and spectators to downtown Downers Grove.
"The true charm of this race is that it attracts not only competitive runners, but also area residents who run or walk the course to share time with friends and loved ones," said Annette Bonfield, president of the Bonfield Foundation.
Individual runners can still register Wednesday and Thursday at the Runners Grove, 5155 Main St., or the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., for $35.
Participants are encouraged to pick up their race packets before race day at one of the designated pick-up locations.
Packet Pickup Information
Runner’s Grove: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tivoli Theatre: Thursday, Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving/Race Day), 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
For more information, visit www.bonfieldexpress.com.
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