Run To The Pub Gearing Up For Second 'Haunted' Run To Bachelors Grove Cemetery

Daily Southtown
October 02, 2018
Donna Vickroy

Kelly Devine Rickert (in white), director of Run to the Pub, is hosting the second annual Run to the Pub Haunted Historical Run at Bachelors Grove cemetery in Midlothian Oct. 14. Both morning and afternoon runs will culminate in stories and a stop at The Whistle in Tinley Park. (Kelly Devine Rickert)


If the tales are to be believed, there have been plenty of reasons for folks to run out of Bachelors Grove Cemetery.

But Kelly Devine Rickert’s groups prefer to run into the supposedly haunted Midlothian graveyard.

Devine Rickert’s second annual Run to the Pub Haunted Historical Run at Bachelors Grove on Oct. 14 will feature two sessions, one at 10 a.m., the other at 3:30 p.m. Both runs will culminate in stories and trivia, followed by beer at The Whistle Sports Bar and Grill in Tinley Park.

“Anybody can do it,” she said. “I have a lot of new people come out for this event.”

Out of respect for those buried in the cemetery, Devine Rickert said the two to three mile run will take place across the street through Rubio Woods.

“We’ll run in the forest preserve and then we’ll cross the street and I’ll start my historical tour,” she said. To add a Halloween effect, she plays scary music and wears a costume.

“We follow the road up to the grove. I give a fun fact or story, maybe talk about a haunting. Once we get there, I give a little history and talk about some of the people who are buried there,” she said.

Afterward, the runners head back to their cars and meet up for their free beer, included in the price, and for a chance to win prizes in the post-run raffle.

“It’s just something fun,” she said. “It combines some history with running and, of course, beer.”

Maureen Coogan-Miller, 47, is among the many runners who plan to return again for this year’s haunted run.

Coogan-Miller joined Run to the Pub several years ago when she was looking for a fun workout program.

“I didn’t really exercise until the last 10 years,” Coogan-Miller said.

The club became a starting point for the Crestwood resident who has worked her way up to half-marathon distance. She said she loves the support and bonding that the group provides. “Everyone pulls for each other,” she said.

Coogan-Miller says participating in the Bachelors Grove event “was not a hard sell for me.

“I love scary movies. I’ve always been interested in things that go bump in the night,” she said. “And anybody who’s heard of the South Side or who has any interest in the supernatural knows about Bachelors Grove.”

Coogan-Miller said her interest goes beyond the site’s famous reputation. After the run, she said, Devine Rickert talks about the folklore, the gravestones and the people buried there.

“There’s a rich history of how the area started, about the pioneers who came to this area and are now buried there,” she said.
Still, the biggest attraction for most participants, she said, is the cemetery’s reputation for being haunted.

“Sometimes you feel a little chill in the air,” she said. “I tell Kelly, ‘If something happens, the good thing is we’ve got our gym shoes on and we can outrun the ghost.’”

Last year, Devine Rickert offered three sessions of the Bachelors Grove run. This year, there are two. She’s expecting 100 runners at each, she said.

Bachelors Grove, which has been the subject of books and television shows, she said, “is a destination for many.”

Devine Rickert said she doesn’t have any inside information involving hauntings at the cemetery. She simply researches history and folklore and tells what’s already been reported.

The Bachelors Grove run costs $35, with a discount for those who register early.

Devine Rickert, who is president of Devine Nutrition Inc., a wellness center in Oak Forest, started Run to the Pub locally seven years ago.

The club meets once a week for four to six weeks at a runner-friendly pub in the suburbs. Membership cost is about $10 a week.

All abilities — runners, walkers and joggers — are welcome and everyone is divided into groups, led by experienced coaches. Each run ends at the pub where it began and participants receive a free beer and prizes are raffled.

Each of the five locations — Palos; Brookfield; Schererville and Hammond, Indiana; and Arlington Heights — have about 80 members, she said.

The Palos group meets at Zach’s on Tap in Palos Heights.

In addition to the regular runs, Devine Rickert organizes historical runs a few times a year. Last year, one such special event focused on the South Side Irish Parade; another explored the history of the Great Chicago Fire.

Year-round, Run to the Pub is a social outing for many, Devine Rickert said. “We’re not an elite running club; we’re a social running club. We get our exercise but we’re also in it for the social aspects.

“It’s better than just going out for a run by yourself. This way, you’re running with friends, having a drink after, maybe eating dinner,” she said.

“When I started this seven years ago it was a newer thing to have beer after running. Now you can’t go to a race without some beer sponsor,” she said.

And nowadays, she said, anybody can run a race.

“Fifteen years ago you had to be a good runner to participate in a race. Now you can be a walker and do a 5K,” she said. “It’s kind of a sport meant for everyone.”

Devine Rickert said some participants walk, some walk-run, others run the entire time. Many use the club as a way to improve their times and distance, she said.

“Some of the participants have been running with me for seven years. Now they’re doing marathons and stuff,” she said.

For more information on the Bachelors Grove event, go to www.facebook.com/events/181165705887661/.To sign up online for any Run to the Pub group, go to https://campscui.active.com/orgs/DevineNutrition. To receive the weekly newsletter, go to http://eepurl.com/Oldkn.

Other Run to the Pub special events include Sunday Funday Starved Rock Run, Nov. 11; Holiday Trolley Lights ‘n’ Brew Tour, Dec. 8; and Run to the Pub Holiday Party, Jan. 5, 2019.

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