ROCKFORD -- As the 2004 Summer Olympics begin, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted and presented awards to Rockford walkers and winning runners of all ages for their commitment to health and fitness at the 19th Annual Swedish American Hospital State Street Mile Walk or Run for Fun and Fitness event.
“Whether people are walking or running, the State Street Mile provides a terrific civic event for people of all ages to come together and enjoy fitness -- especially among our young people,” Quinn said. “This race offers a great way to get some exercise while being a part of a community effort to stay healthy and fit.”
As a tribute to the 2004 Summer Olympics, Quinn will also encouraged young runners to pursue Olympic dreams as world-class runners.
“From the dawn of history, humans have run, and it is important to maintain the spirit of running and pass it along to our young people so that they may pursue active adult lifestyles and possibly become the next Olympic hopefuls,” Quinn said
Runners of the Swedish American Hospital State Street Mile included boys and girls from as young as five to well over 40 years of age. Running events were categorized by age, and are the Jr. Female Run, K-12 girls; Jr. Male Run, K-12 boys; Women’s Open, 17-39 years old; Masters, men and women 40 years old and older; Men’s Open, 17-39 years old; and the Kids’ ¼ Mile Fun Run, 12 years and younger. This one-mile race is considered the fastest race in the Midwest.
On May 6, 2004, Quinn convened a gathering of 9 out of 14 Illinois runners who have broken the four-minute mile barrier, an accomplishment once deemed unthinkable until Roger Bannister did it on May 6, 1954.
The first Illinois resident to break the barrier was Tom O’Hara, the St. Ignatius and Loyola University star who ran 3:59.2 in 1963. The most recent was Don Sage of Elmhurst, who ran a 3:59.4 mile last year. Other included Lee LaBadie of Des Plaines, Ken Popejoy of Glen Ellyn, Rick Wohlhuter of St. Charles, Mike Durkin of River Grove, Jim Spivey of Wood Dale, Rich Harris of Lake Forest, Darryl Frerker of Highland, Eddie Slowikowski of Hinsdale, Mark Deady of Lincolnshire, Len Sitko of Niles, Scott Anderson of Chicago and Tim Broe of East Peoria. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set the current record for the mile --3.43.13 -- in 1999.