CHANA – This year’s Infinity Run and Family Event made quite a splash – under runners’ feet.
Just over 100 runners slogged through the slush for the third annual event during a day that saw rain, sleet and snow sweep across the Sauk Valley.
Mother Nature’s mucky and messy surprise didn’t stop the runners, though. They just swapped their running shorts for sweatpants and their sweatbands for stocking caps and they were good to go.
The 5K race is held in memory of Margaret “Maggie” Meyers, 31, and her 3-year-old son, Amos, who died as a result of a fire at their Byron home on Oct. 19, 2016. The fire’s cause was ruled as arson, and their deaths both homicides. The investigation remains open.
“It was a beautiful turnout even though the weather was not so beautiful,” said LuAnn Rosko, Maggie’s mom. “She would have loved it.”
The event was organized and hosted by The Maggie & Amos Foundation, which was started by family and friends of following the pair’s deaths. In the past 2 years, it’s raised more than $16,000 that has been donated to area school teachers in classroom grants, the Mount Morris Public Library’s children’s section, and scholarships for college students entering the field of special education.
The event featured a 5K run, a 1-mile Fun Run/Walk, silent auction, and a children’s fun zone with games and prizes. The inspiration for the 5K run comes from Meyers’ love of running.
Event coordinator Stephanie White said 250 people had registered for the 5K and Fun Run.
“With the weather the way it is I am actually shocked with the turnout we have,” White said. “We are so fortunate to have as many here as we do.”
LuAnn and her husband, Don, along with their son, Mark, and his wife, Aimee, and their children Eddie, Josephine, and Warren, bundled up to lead to the 1-mile Fun Fun/Walk around the Chana Education Center, where Maggie taught.
As participants turned down West Avenue, steady waves of wet snow streamed across their faces as cold winds whipped across the village.
Eddie and Josephine delighted in jumping into mud puddles as the group walked down a gravel alley. LuAnn said it was a scene Maggie would have liked.
“She would have said, ‘Oh come on, suck it up buttercup.’ She was loved by so many,” LuAnn said. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out despite the weather.”
Find The Maggie & Amos Foundation on Facebook for more information.
Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle asks that anyone with information about Maggie and Amos' death to call his office at 815-732-2136 or Ogle Lee Crime Stoppers at 888-228-4488.