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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published October 4, 2007                                                           

Biedrzycki keeps students running

By Polly Rix

   Living healthy. Giving back to your community. Touching the lives of others.
   This is what the Rotary Run for Wellness House means to Marianne Biedrzycki.
   For 13 years Biedrzycki has encouraged her Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 students to participate in the race. During those years the race evolved from a Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Rotary fun run to a fundraiser for both the Rotary and Wellness House.
   Last month the Oak School physical education teacher learned that the trophy for the elementary school with the most participants now is named for her, beginning with this year’s run. The old unnamed trophy was retired at Oak School, the immediate past winner, and the new Marianne Biedrzycki Trophy was unveiled.
   “Initially I felt it was a great way to culminate my fitness unit and to participate in a community event,” Biedrzycki said, who got involved when she was a PE teacher at Monroe School.
   “It got bigger and bigger and the kids liked it,” she added. “To this day we’re building teams and touching lives and winning the trophy.”
   The year Biedrzycki switched from teaching at Monroe to Oak, the schools were neck and neck at the finish line, she said. Oak won in the end.
   “They were so close, like one or two kids, then there was a recount and Oak won. I said, ‘Can you just give it to both?’ ” she recalled. “I guess everyone counted.”
   She paused when asked if she has special memories from the years of participating.
   “There are so many stories,” she said.
   “One of my kids couldn’t do the run but did the 10-step walk with grandpa. She still went, she was cheering on her teammates and friends.
   “We have a student who was a survivor of cancer and did the walk her last year and that was so meaningful,” she continued.
   “Then Prospect students did it for a teacher with cancer.”
   She is proud of one dad who puffed his way to the finish line last year. Later she learned that it was his first run — ever.
   Then there was the mom who ran with her daughter to support her youngster, only to realize she was out of shape and needed to start exercising.
   Rotarian Greg Donnelly pointed out that Biedrzycki has been able to motivate hundred and hundreds of kids to participate.
   “Marianne has been a driving force in encouraging District 181 students to be active and physically fit. She has motivated hundreds of students over the years to participate in this event and then continue to be physically fit throughout the year and throughout their lives,” he said.
   “She gets it and understands exactly what is going on. They are learning to get fit — and give back.”




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