La Grange holds 22nd annual Pilgrim Pie Run

Sara Lee pie or Home Run Inn pizza given out to every finisher


Lydia Busker ‘24 running alongside her dad shortly after crossing the starting line at Pilgrim Pie Run in La Grange on Nov. 24 (Davis/LION).

Lillian Davis, Reporter

The Pilgrim Pie Run for the Rotary Club is an annual Thanksgiving tradition for many families in the La Grange and Western Springs area. This race was founded in 2001 by Ken Daemicke, who has been the race director ever since. 

“[The Pilgrim Pie Run] was called Pilgrim Pacer in the initial year and we had only 157 runners,” Daemicke said. “In 2011, we introduced Sara Lee pie giveaways for every finisher and changed the name to Run 3.14 Pie. Finally in 2017 we changed the name once more, combining the prior two names into Pilgrim Pie Run for Rotary.” 

This year they maintained their 22-year streak of no rain. 

“The pandemic limited 2020 to virtual only, and registrations dropped to about 600,” Daemicke said. “We bounced back live in 2021 with 2,385 entrants, and this year we set a record with 2,737 entrants.” 

Proceeds from the run go towards funding the La Grange Rotary Club. The Rotary Club does myriad things, such as give scholarships to graduating LT and Nazareth seniors, purchase defibrillators for the Village Hall, purchase segways for the Police Department, and help fund playground equipment for Sawyer (Rotary) Park in La Grange. The Rotary Club also handles the Secret Santa program that provides gifts to children in need within the community. 

Every year, Sara Lee pies are given out to every finisher. However, Sara Lee couldn’t provide the usual amount of pies this year, so to make up for it, 12-inch Home Run Inn pizzas were given away as well, Daemicke said.

Lydia Busker ‘24 like many others, has run in the Pilgrim Pie run almost every year. This year she ran alongside her dad. Members of the LT boys water polo team also came out to run in the race together, wearing only their uniforms. 

“It was a bet from my dad. Last year he said he would give us each $50 if we ran the whole race in just our speedos,” Sam Garvin ‘24 said. 

The race consisted of many people running with friends and family as well as a few serious runners too. This year’s first place finisher was Matt Kusak. He is a former Hinsdale Central student and is currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis. 

“This is my first time [running in the Pilgrim Pie Run]. I usually go to the Beat the Bird Run in Fullersburg Woods but they weren’t having it this year,” Kusak said. 

Kusak ran cross country and track and field in high school and is continuing to run with Washington University now. On Nov. 19, he ran in the NCAAs for Division III Nationals where he placed 77th.