If you’re headed out to watch the Illini Challenge cross-country meet Friday evening, look for some area runners representing the Second Wind Running Club in the meet.
The meet allows unattached collegiate and post-collegiate runners to compete.
“It gives the opportunity for any teams that have athletes not on the roster for this season to be able to race,” said meet director Eric Vetter.
Stephen Ostwinkle saw the opportunity for local runners to participate in the meet and decided to put together a team. Ostwinkle is with the University of Illinois Army ROTC program and knows Vetter because the ROTC often helps with the finish line at meets.
Ostwinkle also organizes a weekly speed workout for Second Wind, and he talked with some of the runners there about competing at the cross-country meet. He recruited the five people necessary to enter a team.
The Second Wind runners are Jeff Kelly, Fernando Moreu, Scott DeWitt, Chris Valicka and Eric Lebow.
“I think it’s really good to let everybody like that run” in the meet, Ostwinkle said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The Second Wind runners are also familiar with the course, as they alternate their speed workout between the UI Arborertum, where the cross-country meet will be held, and the UI track.
Vetter cautioned: “It’s not a fun run for the local community. We try to limit it to competitive collegiate and post-collegiate athletes who can unofficially add to the competitiveness of the meet and compete alongside collegiate athletes who are racing.”
He needn’t worry about the Second Wind team. These are pretty speedy guys.
Go out and watch them. The meet starts at 6:30 p.m. with the women’s race. The men’s race is at 7 p.m.