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Cheering on our DREAAM FundRACERS!!!

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Illinois (Marathon*) Race Weekend is here! DREAAM is one of the race weekend's Charity Running Partners, which means runners have the opportunity to give more meaning to their miles, training, and race(s) by raising money for a nonprofit organization.

We are humbled to have three amazing people (& me : ) running for DREAAM today and tomorrow. If you're planning to be out on the course to cheer on the runners, be on the lookout for highlighter yellow shirts with the DREAAM logo on the front and cheer loudly!!!

Let's meet the runners!!!

Judi Geistlinger will be running the Mini I-Challenge: the 5K (3.1 miles) tonight and the 10K (6.2 miles) tomorrow. Judi first learned about DREAAM through First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, one of our first partners who stepped up with seed funding early on. [Thank you, First Pres!!!] In Judi's words: “I started "running" 10 years ago primarily at fundraiser races. I run for the swag, the people cheering, and the post-race banana! When DREAAM became part of a race I have run for the last several years, I jumped at the chance to support this wonderful cause. I was already planning to run the Illinois Marathon Weekend, but now I get to support this terrific work too. I am running with a purpose this year. I love DREAAM because it helps raise up young men, giving them the future my children had automatically due to our race, economic status and education. Supporting DREAAM financially is such a small thing to do, but if it can make a difference in one young man's life, the world will be a better place. And so many young men have the chance for success with the skills and community developed through DREAAM. I will be honored to wear a DREAAM shirt this weekend and support this wonderful cause.”

Jake Watts will be running the Illinois Half Marathon (13.1 miles) tomorrow. He grew up on a farm in Rankin, IL and attended PBL High School in Paxton. After graduating from PBL, he studied Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and graduated in December of 2021. Since graduation, he has been working in the Moose functional genomics lab on campus as an hourly employee studying nitrate transport genes in corn. How cool is that!??! Jake hopes to attend graduate school in the fall to continue studying plant genetics.

In Jake's words: "I run simply to stay active and elected to raise money for DREAAM because we share the belief that education is our greatest tool to end poverty cycles in the community and your organization takes action on that belief!”

Caitlin Drake will be running the 10K on Saturday. Caitlin has been a longtime supporter of DREAAM and says, "I love a challenge so thought it would be a good time to train for the 10k and when I saw DREAAM was a charity partner, it was an easy decision to choose you guys. Love your program and the impact it has in our community."

Caitlin's daughter, Mia, will be rocking the Youth Run tomorrow, as well!

Thank you so much, Judi, Jake, and Caitlin, for running for DREAAM! All of us here at DREAAM are wishing you a phenomenal race! Know we are all cheering you on!!! You ROCK the DREAAM HOUSE!!

Learn more about the Illinois Race Weekend at

*The marathon is not a part of the races this year due to staffing and the amount of space the marathon would take up street-wise and time-wise.


Many thanks to our fundRACERS Jake Watts, Judi Geistlinger, Lina Mongwa, Jacqueline Jasek, Caitlin Drake, and Caitlin's daughter, Mia Drake! And thank you to all who supported DREAAM through the Illinois Race Weekend fundraising platform!

Take a look through these race day photos!

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