December 1, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Running for a good cause

John Lubinski has a sizable commute each day to get from his home in St. Joseph to his place of employment.

Lubinski teaches at Potomac Grade School in Vermilion County.

Along with his friend and fellow teacher, Wade Rogers of Armstrong-Potomac High School, they plan on doing a unique fundraiser on March 27th to benefit both schools and their athletic equipment.

The venture, entitled the PAPE Challenge, stands for Potomac-Armstrong Physical Education, and will feature both Lubinski and Rogers competing in a run from Lubinski’s home in St. Joseph to his the grade school in Potomac, with a minor loop that will go by Rogers’ school in Armstrong. According to Lubinski, the distance that he mapped out is right at the correct mileage for a marathon.

“Wade (Rogers) and I were talking one day about doing a fundraising event to benefit both of our programs, and he suggested that we do a running event, since we are both runners. I’ve done several marathons and he (Rogers) hasn’t done any, and after knowing that the distance from my house in St. Joseph to Potomac was close, a short detour around Wade’s school in Armstrong, that put the distance right at 26.2 miles, the number for a marathon, so it couldn’t have worked out any better,” Lubinski said.

Lubinski drew the map of the course, so he chose the starting point, which was St. Joseph.

Since students of Lubinski’s funnel into the high school where Rogers teaches, naturally, the kids have gotten excited and involved in the friendly rivalry.

Both Lubinski and Rogers state that students have come up to each of them and said that one could beat the other, and vice versa.

“I’ve had kids that I had last year that now have Wade as their teacher tell him that I’m going to beat him, so they are having some fun with this as well,” Lubinski said.

Rogers, who has never run a marathon before, is not intimidated by the length of the run, and feels confident that he will be able to finish the distance.

“I have been an avid runner for quite some time and have run a lot of races in the past. The longest I have ever run at one time is over 18 miles, and that was when I was training for a marathon. However, I had a knee injury and was never able to compete in the event, but my past distance running will get me by,” Rogers said.

Rogers went on to add that he too is getting feedback from students about the event, including some friendly jabs one way or another.

“I’ve had kids that were with John last year that are now with me tell me that I won’t beat him, while others tell me that I’ve got what it takes to get the job done. I’m a competitor, and I truly think I’ve got what it takes to beat him. However, he feels the same way about it from his perspective, which makes it fun,” Rogers added about how kids in his district have reacted to the competition.

To help with the effort, Lubinski and Rogers have established a Go Fund Me page.

Lubinski says that any amount that is pledged toward the cause helps them get one step closer to their goal.

“Actually, we set it at $1,000 just as an arbitrary figure, but we were just wanting to help out our respective schools replace some outdated equipment,” Lubinski said.

“During these times of the pandemic, it gets increasingly difficult to keep going back to our administration for funds for these needs. Hopefully, this will help ease that burden a little,” Rogers said.

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