Evan Elsner, a runner for Team Great Futures.

It is commonly said that training and running a marathon can change your life.

For the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago marathon runner's part of Team Great Futures, they not only changing their lives, but the lives of the children and teens BGCC serves.

Last month, Team Great Futures ran 26.2 miles in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon raising critical resources for the children and teens of BGCC. 

"If you can contribute to an organization that produces successful kids that will go on to do great things, why wouldn't you try to help?" said Evan Elsner, a member of Team Great Futures. "It's a testament to the organization overall." 

After attending several Youth of the Year ceremonies, Elsner saw the Clubs' impact on youth and wanted to make sure he ran for Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.

"I was always impressed with the candidates of the Youth of the Year award," Elsner said. "Seeing young people who are so accomplished and thriving in the program gives you a good glimpse what the program does for kids."

Giving back to kids was why five teachers of the British International School of Chicago wanted to help raise money for a local organization. The five runners, all with a variety of running experience, used the fundraising and training as a way to bond with each other and with their school community.

"We've focused on the work (BGCC does), and it's been a real point of connection for our families," Matt Gregory, Assistant Head – Community and Professional Learning at the British School. "Although some of our families were aware of BGCC, it was great to link our community to show the work BGCC does." 

Elsner said it could also be a great reminder to those within your network to donate to nonprofits.

"A lot of people need a reminder to donate. They don't wake up in the morning and say I should donate," Elsner said. "Me running the marathon [for BGCC] gives them more of a reason to give, and it's a good reminder to them that they should be doing this."

What the runners loved most about the race, though, was feeding off the crowd's energy to finish those last few miles. And also seeing the city in a way they never had before.

"We're all excited to experience the vibrancy and different cultures the city has to offer," Gregory said. "You can go to different neighborhoods and eat out, but running through those different communities, who come out and support you for one reason, it's a great way to experience the city."

And it wasn’t just volunteers running for BGCC, but also staff members. Emily Steepleton, BGCC's Corporate and Foundations Coordinator, also ran her first marathon.

"I have been a part of the Boys & Girls Club Movement for six years, and one of the phrases you hear a lot is 'whatever it takes.' Our staff always go above and beyond to do whatever it takes to support our kids," Steepleton said. "I am often inspired by our staff and kids, so I wanted to go above my day-to-day work and decided to run the marathon for BGCC."

Thank you to all of our Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Team Great Futures runners! If you'd like to run in 2022 for BGCC, click here to find out more information!

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