The extra mile

By on July 17, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—All-around athlete Jeremy Kenny will use his running ability in September to raise money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Kenny, who graduated from Kaneland High School in 2004, participated in football, wrestling and track while a student there. He wrestled all four years on the varsity team.

Gary Baum, his wrestling coach, said Kenny started out with a lot of ability and is one of the hardest-working people he knows.

“He has a work ethic that is unbelievable,” Baum said. “He would run to school from home (Elburn) just for the work-out.”

While pursuing a degree in physical education at Northern Illinois University, Kenny began coaching wrestling under Baum at Kaneland High School in 2006. After his first year as a volunteer, the school offered him a paid job coaching the team.

“Jeremy is a very soft spoken individual who lets his actions speak for him,” Kaneland High School Athletic Director Leigh Jaffke said. “He is a hard worker and dedicates himself completely to whatever he does.

Under his leadership, the wrestling team won regionals in 2007. That year, eight of the seniors on the team graduated, and Kenny said he has since been in the process of rebuilding the team.

“I have a lot of expectations for good things this year,” Kenny said.

Baum said he wasn’t surprised to learn that Kenny was planning to run a marathon.

“That’s a pretty massive undertaking to prepare for such an event,” Baum said.

The marathon, which takes place on Sept. 20 in Maui, Hawaii, is 26.2 miles. Kenny said that although he has not run that far yet, he has been working up to it. He recently ran 17 miles, and will soon do a 20-mile and a 23-mile practice run with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program on the Chicago lakefront.

Although Kenny doesn’t have a personal connection with AIDS or HIV, he said he has wanted to run a marathon for some time, and this allows him to have a positive impact doing something he loves.

This coming school year he will substitute teach in the Kaneland School District and continue to coach wrestling while he trains for the marathon. He currently lives in DeKalb but plans to move back to Elburn in about a month, he said.

He has so far raised $1,400, through a cash raffle he organized and from his website, His goal is $3,500.