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Anna Kohout is ready for bigger things.
The Deer Path Middle School seventh-grader wheeled across the finish line first of the traditional wheelchair entrants, save for a pair of racer wheels, Saturday night in front of the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.
“I would like to try a longer race,” Kohout said.
This was Anna’s third appearance in the fourth annual GLASA fundraising event, which starts with the race and includes three hours of music, food and drink afterward. Proceeds benefit GLASA, which offers an array of sports opportunities for physically challenged athletes.
Kohout was born with spina bifida, a disease that impacts the spine, but she usually gets around on crutches and only uses the wheelchair for longer distances.
She enjoys being active, participating in other GLASA sports such as sled hockey. Participating in the 5K event, however, has become important for her.
“My parents started to do this first, and then I joined them,” she said.
Jean Stein’s idea of win-win doesn’t include personal glory as it once did when she ran competitively. She and her husband are parents of four sons who play in the Falcon hockey program, allowing Stein to see how GLASA offers kids who normally would not get near ice a chance with sled hockey.
“I didn’t know about this event until I read about it, and I figured why not support it,” said Stein, whose family moved from Fort Sheridan to Lake Forest last spring. “It’s a win-win. Everyone gets out and exercises and the money goes to a good cause.”
Stein may not race competitively anymore, but she took pride in crossing the finish line as the top female finisher.
“This is about as much as I do,” Stein said. “I do it for my sanity, or as my husband calls it, my insanity.”
Stein’s time of 20 minutes, 15.78 seconds wasn’t as much on her mind as enjoying the scenery of the race, which winds through tree-lined neighborhoods of Lake Forest near the Gorton Center.
“I used to shoot for a time,” she said. “I would love to get under 20 minutes, but it’s not going to happen. I love running in this area.”
One of the more vocal groups prior to the race was a group of New Trier High School soccer players who had come up for the race. They traded pre-race cheers with a contingent of Lake Forest High School field hockey players.
As it turned out, one of those soccer players, 14-year-old Richard Pigott, was the first runner to finish in 19:12.06, ahead of teammate Will Finnegan, who clocked 19:23.09.
“I was surprised to be the first,” Pigott said. “I was trying to break 20 minutes.”