New Balance Local Heroes Contest: Chicago, Illinois Metro Area Finalists Announced

MileSplit and FloTrack have partnered with New Balance to create the "Local Heroes" program, in order to recognize local high school distance runners who are making a real difference in the world around them. Congratulations to our finalists from the Chicago, Illinois Metro Area for the New Balance Local Heroes Contest. Each finalist will receive a special gear kit from New Balance. From these five finalists, we will announce one overall winner of the New Balance Local Hero contest from each of the five regions at the end of August. The winner will receive an awards party at a local running shoe retailer and their XC team will be outfitted with free New Balance shoes!

Lindsay Graham - Glenbard West - "Lindsay is a runner who works hard. She began running two years ago, yet finished 20th in the Illinois 3A State Cross Country Championships and fifth in state for the two mile in track. This was achieved during her freshman year in high school. Lindsay is a member of 4H. She participates in service projects including working at Feed My Starving Children. Lindsay worked on a project her 4H group sponsored where they collected t-shirts from the community, sewed them, and turned them into reusable grocery bags that were distributed at local food pantries in the community. Lindsay is a member of the Dick Pond Running Club. For the past two summers Lindsay ran with the club in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The club stayed at the event all night and continually ran laps non-stop the entire evening to show support in the fight to end cancer. The club raised thousands for cancer research. On July 12, Lindsay is participating in the Mikias Mile. This is a fundraiser in memory of a high school cross country runner who recently lost his life while hit by a car. Lindsay is participating in a relay with her club in an effort to obtain funds for a scholarship in Mikias'honor. At 8th grade graduation, she was given the Character Award. This award, through a peer voting process , is bestowed to the student that most consistently displays universally accepted traits of good character. During her freshman year in high school, Lindsay maintained a 5.2 GPA on a 5.0 scale, all the while putting in a couple hundred miles a month beneath her feet."

Malcolm Grba - Northside College Prep -"Malcolm Grba is not just an amazing track and cross country athlete. He exemplifies success, responsibility, and humility on both the outside and inside of his sport. By showing a tremendous work ethic, he helped the Northside Varsity Men's Cross Country Team qualify for the IHSA class 2A state meet for the first time in school history. Whenever he is not running, he is looking for ways to help those around him. Right now, as I am nominating Malcolm as a New Balance Local Hero, he is in Peru, participating in a Strive Trip, Service Travel for Student Athletes. There, Malcolm uses the Spanish he has mastered in order to help those in need in Peru. As a participant in this trip, Malcolm has worked over 10 hours to renovate a local track for elementary school students, teaches children Art and English, and socializes with children who simply need a friend. He has also been running 60 miles a week with other participants. Malcolm has used running in order to not just help himself."

Lucas Kieffer - Elmwood Park High School - Lucas runs cross country and track and field and is a 'Local Hero'. Whether it is finishing a race but only having concern for his teammates, being active in the school's Social Studies Club, or volunteering time to put toys and meals together to deliver them to less fortunate people in the community ON Christmas Day, Lucas is devoted to bettering his community and school. In a day and age where the moral compass and character of a teenager is easily tested, Lucas' foundation is firm and his intentions are pure. He has been involved in the Boy Scouts for ten years, and is about to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Lucas is required to plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to his school or community. A runner at heart, Lucas will be building benches and help improve the community/cross country running trails surrounding the school to foster and promote his love of running. Lucas LIVES the last message from the founder of scouting - "Leave this world a little better than you found it."

Sirlaurence King - Leo High School - Sirlaurence is a 2013-2014 sophomore ranked fourth in his class .He finished 2nd on the freshman level in the Chicago Catholic League Cross Country meet and placed in the 1600 and 3200 Indoor and Outdoor Frosh-Soph. Championships. The most compelling reason Sirlaurence King should be selected a New Balance Local Hero is that he is a positive role model for Leo Catholic High School,his classmates, teammates and his community. Sirlaurence being a young inner city male ; there are many obstacles he must overcome . He has developed respect for himself and for others. On Christmas day he serves meals, washes dishes and passes out bags of clothing to those who came to St. James Catholic Church. He believes that our community depends on involvement of volunteers like himself . He also was involved in collecting can goods and clothing for the Matthew House homeless shelter.

Brendan Remington - St. Thomas More -Brendan, last years' 5th runner of the year, has a fundraiser to raise money for lukemia research every year. Last year he skipped the Homecoming Dance because of his fundraiser, He raised over $10,000. His brother passed away a couple years ago of Lukemia and Brendan has been so dedicated to raise awareness and raise money. He is amazing.