Countdown Continues: 19 Days to The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

Countdown Continues: 19 Days to The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

Provided by Chicago Marathon

- 30 Inspiring Stories in 30 Days -

After developing true brotherhoods while serving in the military, Rick Bailan and his friends learned the horrifying news that they lost one of their own still serving his country. As a tribute to their friend who always pushed them to give their all, the men are reuniting at The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon in the honor of their fallen friend, Todd Drobnick.

WHO: Rick Balian
AGE: 47
OCCUPATION: Information Technology Architect
HOMETOWN: Downingtown, PA

RUNNER STORY: Rick Balian is heading up a special team of runners for The 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. As a member of the 101st Airborne based out of Fort Campbell, Ky., he and a group of fellow soldiers are on a mission to honor their friend Todd Drobnick. As servicemen often do, Rick developed strong connections with the men serving in the 101st during their time in the Gulf War. When the group returned to their base, they welcomed new recruits into
their circle of friends. As time went on, many of the men moved onto new responsibilities either in civilian life or within the military.

The group lost touch with each other over time, but
through an effort made by a few of them, they were able to reconnect. Thanks to the vast information the internet provides, many of the men were able to reunite. They enthusiastically shared stories about themselves in an attempt to catch up on each other’s lives. After hearing about each other’s joys and trials, the news spread to them that one of their dear friends had fallen. Todd

Drobnick was killed in November of 2003 while serving in Mosul, Iraq. He had been assigned as a translator to a
civilian company. The group was naturally deeply saddened and felt a great sense of loss upon receiving the information.

Each man who knew Todd came forward with stories about him. They took turns sharing their memories of him. In all
of the tales, there was always one common denominator about Todd, he was an athlete. He was constantly pushing the men to improve their hiking skills and turn in quicker bike times. He enjoyed trekking through the caves of Kentucky and competing in two Eco Challenges. Todd was always there motivating each of his friends to achieve
their best.

In memory of their fallen friend, Rick and his buddies will dedicate their performance in this year’s LaSalle
Bank Chicago Marathon to him. Since life has separated the men from training together, they each take time out of their busy schedules to run at home, but they are not alone. Rick nostalgically thinks of his dear friend Todd whenever he trains. Whether it is a sunny day or there is a foot of snow on the ground, Rick trains with the hope
that Todd is watching him and pushing him to once again achieve his best.