Reindeer Runners Race Up $19,000 for YMCA at Brookfield Zoo

More than 700 runners participated in the annual run that benefits the Greater LaGrange YMCA and helps to fund its programming.

The Greater LaGrange YMCA saw a turnout of more than 700 for their third annual Reindeer Run Saturday at the Brookfield Zoo, a fundraiser that benefits the YMCA's Annual Fund.

“It was a beautiful day, and because it was unseasonably warm, the animals were very active,” Karen Dziagwa, health and wellness director for the YMCA, told the The Doings Western Springs. “You could hear the lions roaring and the baboons barking at the runners.”

The paper also reported that the race raised about $19,000 for programming at the YMCA, including for persons with special needs.

“We are so thrilled with the amount of participants this year,” Bridgette Letizia, executive director of the Greater LaGrange YMCA, said in a press release. “Many said they signed up because they heard about the Reindeer Run through friends or relatives who are runners, so that means they enjoyed it last year.

"We are so excited at how this race has grown.”

As a YMCA press release reported: Crossing the finish line first was 13-year-old Zak Hutchinson of New Lenox, who finished in 18 minutes and 9 seconds. Just one second behind him was Christopher Schiel of Schaumburg. Christopher Stockman of New Lenox was third with a time of 18 minutes, 28 seconds; Chris Dziagwa of Brookfield crossed fourth with a time of 18 minutes, 30 seconds; and Johnny Bareis of La Grange Park came in fifth with a time of 18 minutes, 31 seconds.

Dona Trejo of Naperville was the first woman to cross the finish line and did so in 20 minutes, 32 seconds.

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