What began as an excuse to encourage a few people to run a race has developed into a team of more than 40 lawyers, clients and friends who will compete in the 14th annual Chicago Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, September 12, 2010.
Many members of what's now being called the "Baker & Daniels Fun(d) Run" team have trained together for months. And it's not just about them — team participants are raising money for the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center.
"The idea took off as a way to not only run but to involve clients, potential clients, friends of the firm and others in doing a beneficial thing — raising money for a worthy charity while training and running a big race," said lawyer Mike Kanute, a partner in Baker & Daniels' Chicago office and the lead organizer in the firm's outreach initiative. "I'm really happy with how it has turned out."
The Baker & Daniels Fun(d) Run accomplishes a number of goals in one event, including:
- Fostering relationships with clients, potential clients and friends of the firm and inviting them to join lawyers and staff in a very worthwhile event;
- Raising money for a worthy organization, the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center; and
- Promoting awareness of the firm's Chicago office, which has grown to more than two dozen professionals in two years.
"But perhaps most of all, we are all becoming better, healthier individuals by training for and running this event," explained Kanute, who is also a USA Triathlon coach. "I love running events like the Chicago Half Marathon, but it has been especially rewarding this year in the lead up to this event since we have Baker & Daniels attorneys and staff, as well as other friends of the firm, running an event like this for the first time."
"It's especially rewarding to be raising money for the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, which makes the event about something bigger than ourselves," added Kanute, who is a product liability litigator in his legal practice.
Julie Shelton, also a partner and litigator with Baker & Daniels, serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring the safety, health and well being of abused children.
In addition to offering the opportunity to train together, Baker & Daniels coordinated a training plan for team participants with access to a 15-week training program written by TrainingBible Coaching, one of the leading running and triathlon coaching organizations in the U.S. The firm also developed a Web page for team participants to view the training program, chat with teammates online, track their fundraising progress and remain connected to the group.
The Chicago Half Marathon, whose 13.1-mile course starts and finishes in Jackson Park, is the fifth largest half marathon in the U.S. and 21st largest road race in the country. The field is limited to the first 20,000 participants to register.
ABOUT CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER
Located at 1240 South Damen Avenue, the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization uniting public, private and community partners to ensure the safety, health and well being of abused children. A diverse staff works closely with children and families to provide support and hope. In a culturally sensitive environment, these professionals serve as intake coordinators, court and family advocates, mental health counselors and specially trained forensic interviewers, all working as a team to bring hope and healing to Chicago's abused children.