Jason Midlock, a history and AP European history teacher at Joliet Catholic Academy, once was your stereotypical offensive lineman. If he had to sprint 100 yards a couple times, he needed a nap afterward.
Change came rapidly.
“I played football for one year in college at Augustana and then realized I had to get in shape,” said Midlock, who transferred to Lewis University. “I got into triathlons, but I really enjoy just the running.
“This combines the two things that I love – running and JCA. Put them together and it’s great.”
On Sunday, May 20, Midlock ran a great race. With a time of 18:06.3, he placed second overall at the second annual Joliet Catholic Academy Helping Hands 5K. Salvador Lozaro won with a sharp 17:56.0.
A complete list of the winners for each age division can be found at jca-online.org/helping-hands-5k. JCA student Moira McSteen (22.24.4) placed second overall for women. Also recognized as top JCA student finishers were Dyllan Mattea (20:41.6) and Alexandra Blotnik (22:57.6). There were 350 participants.
The event is organized by Suzi Arnett. All proceeds – with $7,000 raised this year – go to benefit the JCA Helping Hands Tuition Assistance Fund. The Helping Hands Fund aids current families in need as a result of temporary hardship due to loss of a job, health or medical issues or the death of a parent, etc.
“It’s like a Super Bowl race around here because there are so many fans, the kids you see at school every day, and it really pumps you up,” Midlock said. “It’s exciting. Plus, it’s a great opportunity.
“I think it’s great because people have the opportunity to experience JCA, with all of our great families and tradition. And it is extra motivation to run in a race like this because you know it’s a great cause.”
The 5K chip-timed certified run was combined with a 5K fitness walk. A first-ever kids’ race followed on the track, called the Lil’ Hill, Lil’ Angel Race. A family cookout – sponsored by JCA’s Student Council and with burgers, hot dogs and chips donated by the Parent Association – was held, along with a tug-of-war.
Arnett wanted to thank all of the Helping Hands 5K sponsors as well as the 5K race committee of Steve and Kathy Blotnik, Marilyn and Harry McSteen, Kathy Hibner, Beth Ley, Mark Clarke and Mary Ragusa.
“We had over 100 more people take part than in the first year,” Arnett said. “Having the kids’ race and offering a family package brought the families out, which was great to see. It was a nice atmosphere.”
For Midlock, wearing his red “Run for Izzo” shirt in honor of former JCA basketball Jeremy Izzo and to battle Marfan’s syndrome was another reason to fight through the hot, humid, sticky conditions.
“It helps you run a little harder,” Midlock said. “I’m trying to wear it at all the races I do, and we’re getting a group together to run in Washington, D.C. in October. Both causes are very important to me.”