Rain, mud didn’t stop runners at Infinity event

Dane Bell (left), Mara Bell (right) and Mackenzie Turcato (center) run along the lake at the Rochelle Wildlife Conservation Club during the Infinity Event 5K on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

CHANA – They were fewer in number, but their mission remained the same as 27 runners and one pup battled rain, mud and cool temperatures to run for Maggie and Amos at the Infinity Event’s Running Wild Trail and Fun Run on Saturday.

In fact, 13-year-old winner Evelyn Anderson had one comment about the mud and rain: “Bring it on.”

“I thought it was fun passing through the mud,” the Oregon teen said after crossing the finish line first in 33:18.6. “I was like, ‘OK, bring it on.’”

This year’s Infinity Event held in memory of Maggie and Amos (Rosko) Meyer, who died in 2016, was moved to the Rochelle Wildlife Conservation Club, located east of Chana. Previous Infinity runs had been held in Chana next to the Chana Education Center, where Maggie was a teacher.

Hosted by the Maggie & Amos Foundation, the event included live music, a bags tournament, live and silent auctions, free kids activities, a scavenger hunt, a beer garden, and the trail run and 1-mile fun run.

The Maggie & Amos Foundation was created in 2017 after the deaths of Maggie and Amos in October 2016. Maggie was a special education teacher at Chana Education Center who used her creativity and imaginative personality to engage students in out-of-the-box learning in her classroom, said Lynn Kalnins, a co-worker and assistant principal at the school.

Kalnins said Amos, 3, had the adventurous heart of his mom and was eager to join in on any spontaneous adventure with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Maggie, 31, died in a house fire Oct. 19, 2016, in Byron, along with Amos. Duane C. Meyer, Maggie’s ex-husband and Amos’ father, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated arson and one count of concealment of a homicidal death. His case is pending in Ogle County court.

Shortly after the deaths, Maggie’s friends and co-workers formed the Maggie & Amos Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, to keep their memories alive and to help other schools and agencies with youth-related projects.

The foundation has funded more than $48,000 in educator grants, library sponsorships and scholarships.

The run is an integral part of the fundraising event because Maggie loved to run races. Despite the steady rain, participants battled through the new trail course with smiles and a lot of muddy shoes.

Christopher Pearce, a close friend of Maggie’s, has taken part in each Infinity run since her death.

“We always seem to have interesting weather on this run,” said Pearce, of Rockford.

“It was an adventure,” added Audrey Hooks, also of Rockford.

June Danekas and her dog, Evee, slushed through the course at a steady pace. Evee has visited the Chana Education Center as a therapy dog and was invited to run this year’s race.

Organizers created the event to keep happy memories of Maggie and Amos alive and seek “all that was good about Maggie and Amos.”

Evelyn honored their memory with her race strategy: “To have a positive mindset and keep going even if it is really hard.”

Evelyn Anderson, 13, of Oregon, was the first place finisher at the Infinity Event 5K held at the Rochelle Wildlife Conservation Club on Saturday, June 8, 2024.
Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.