August 5, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The turnout wasn’t as good as he had hoped Saturday morning, but ultimately, Bill Fisher was pleased with his first major fundraising effort for the American Heart Association.

The retired Carterville High School track and cross country coach was the organizer of the First Annual Hearts Desire 6-Hour Ultra Run and Walk on the John A. Logan College campus. Four-member teams and individuals were asked to run or walk as many miles as they could within a six-hour time span that got under way at 7:30 a.m. Awards were presented to the top finishers.

“We got a lot of support for this event today from the Prairie Heart Institute with Southern Illinois Healthcare,” Fisher said. “And although we didn’t have as many teams as I would have liked, we still had a half dozen teams and about 40 participants. My goal is to have more than 200 runners and walkers. And I think we can get there. It just takes a little time to come around.”

Fisher said he wanted to offer an event other than the popular 5K road races throughout the region.

“This is more of a team concept event,” he said. “There is more of an opportunity for folks to come out and socialize because it’s spread out over a six-hour period.”

JALC Board Chair Jake Rendleman attended the event Saturday.

“Part of the mission of this college’s mission is to serve the community, and that’s what we’re doing here today,” he said. “We are promoting the health and well being of our Southern Illinois community. In fact, we have many programs here that do, as well.”

AHA spokeswoman Beth Walker was thrilled with Fisher’s attempt to raise money for the charity.

“We are so thankful to Bill and John A. Logan College, who put so much time and effort into fundraising,” she said. “Like Bill, we are hopeful that this Ultra Run and Walk becomes an annual event. Any amount of money raised here today is money that we didn’t have before. And why is that important? We invest the money that we raise into researching heart disease and educating all of us so that we can live longer and healthier lives.”

The fundraiser netted about $1,500 in all for the American Heart Association.