McHENRY – In the hopes of increasing participation, the annual Run and Roll Track Meet is moving to Saturday.
The meet was started six years ago by McHenry resident Ben Spengel, then 10, and has grown to include both children and adults and a variety of track and field events.
Spengel, who has cerebral palsy, found that there weren’t many sports opportunities in the area for kids like him, so he decided to create one, said his mother, Trish Spengel.
It’s important for people to know what’s out there and learn about adaptive sports, Ben Spengel said, adding that the event “basically changed [his] life” and because he’s an athlete, he takes better care of himself.
The event initially was created in coordination with McHenry’s Fiesta Days as an extension of the city’s annual track meet, but as it grew, organizers decided to break away so they could expand what was offered, Trish Spengel said.
The event stayed on a Wednesday, but organizers started considering moving it to a Saturday.
“We thought it would be a lot easier for families, especially those traveling,” she said, adding that last year the Run and Roll Track Meet drew 21 children from all over McHenry County plus Wisconsin and Lake and Cook counties.
This year, 29 already have registered, something that makes them optimistic about participation. Many families register the same day as the event.
The meet also is the last chance in the Midwest to qualify in 60-, 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter races, as well as discus and shot put, for the National Junior Disability Championships, which will be held in July in Minnesota.
Novice and recreational events also will be offered. They include 25- and 60-meter races, a 100-meter relay, a 60-meter wheelchair weave, long jump, discus and softball throw.
The Northwest Herald is one of the sponsors of the Run and Roll Track Meet.