Groovin in the Grove Race Tradition Continues at Midwestern University

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June 07, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL

The anticipated Groovin in the Grove race returned to Midwestern University this year with 91 runners signed up comprised of faculty, staff, students, and children in the Little Groovers run.

The annual Groovin in the Grove 5K Run & Walk at Midwestern University was held May 6, 2023, on the Downers Grove campus, and raised $3,000 for Sharing Connections, a nonprofit organization that assists local people in need with furniture and other household items.

The run was co-sponsored by Midwestern University’s Sports Medicine Club and Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMPOS) with 91 runners signed up from Midwestern University staff, faculty, students, and children signed up for the Little Groovers run.

Nick Maentanis, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Campus Recreation, said, “This was the first year the race has been run since May 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023 we were excited for the return of our Groovin in the Grove 5K race to bring another great event back to campus.”

The event allows students, faculty, and staff to experience campus in a different environment than their usual classroom and workdays, Mr. Maentanis said. “The route runs throughout the entire campus, so it gives runners great sights of our campus as well as the nature that surrounds us. We have had classmates as well as entire campus departments come out and run with co-workers and friends.”

Huibi Liu, Mary Grace Phelan, and Kayla Gerber represented the top three female finishers of the run. Brady Aboussleman, Andrew Mulford, and Harrison Quirke represented the top three male finishers of the run.

Brady Aboussleman, (CHS-Downers Grove, PT ’24) said, “Finishing in the top three was very exciting! It made me feel accomplished, and it felt like my training had paid off.”

Mary Grace Phelan, (CCOM ’26) also finished in the top three. “The supportive environment for every runner/finisher though was awesome too,” she said.

Brady added that participating in the race is more important than attaining a certain placement in the race. “Staying active and healthy is the true goal.” He also mentioned his reasons for participating in the race. “It makes me a better (future) healthcare provider because it allows me to practice what I preach. I tell my patients that they need to exercise, so I need to exercise to set a good example.”

Mary Grace said, “I chose to participate in Groovin in the Grove because it was a great way to kick off the start of finals with my friends – exercise is always my go-to for stress relief.” She also expressed her desire to show support for the Sports Medicine Club.

Brady also encourages others to participate in future races. “I would tell others that participating in a race like this is fun and rewarding, and it is a great way to connect with people close to you and in the community. It’s also a great way to keep yourself and others accountable for staying healthy and active.”

Additionally, he mentioned the importance of healthcare students participating in this race. “If we can participate now while we are in school, we are more likely to participate later while working in the field.”

Mary Grace added, “It is important for healthcare students, future providers, to take responsibility for their own health and well-being in order to have the ‘platform’ to advise our future patients on their health and lifestyle habits!” 

Mr. Maentanis said, “Sharing Connections has a strong presence in the Downers Grove and DuPage County communities, and they will provide resources to families who need assistance through housing organizations, food pantries and veteran organizations. It is important to support an organization like Sharing Connections from an event like this because our community directly benefits from this, and it is not possible without our student organizations, councils, students, faculty, and staff.”

“It was great to see the generosity from our student councils, organizations, and race participants in raising this money. All of our student councils on campus donated funds in support of this cause and a portion of all registration funds were pooled together for this donation,” Mr. Maentanis said.

Similar events will continue to take place. “Student Services will host events periodically throughout the year in collaboration with non-profits for benefit of the surrounding community.” Maentanis said.

Mary Grace also said, “If students are looking for other on campus activities to be active, check out our newly formed Exercise is Medicine Club. We have student leaders on our E-Board from every program (Dental, Optometry, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant/Health Sciences, Master of Biomedical Sciences, and Osteopathic Medicine).” She added, “This fall, we are having an on campus walk in support of suicide prevention month, along with a trip downtown as a club for the St. Jude's 5K, and intermittent group workouts (free and open to all students) on campus.”

The Groovin in the Grove annual 5K race takes place on the Downers Grove Campus, and it has been traditionally held around Mother’s Day since 1989.