BTN Big 10k and 5K


Sunday was another successful tailgate celebration at the BTN Big 10K/5K.

It was a gorgeous morning for tailgating and running in Chicago, with temps in the high 60’s and overcast. The BTN Big 10k/5K retuned to Grant Park for its 8th annual event to celebrate the best conference in college sports and its enthusiast Big Ten fans.
This is a favorite local race where Big Ten fans compete for their schools, favorite team and kick off the college football season in style at the post-race Tailgate party. This year, Carli Lloyd and Alyssa Naeher were named 2019 Grand Marshals! It was a pleasure to see the Women’s National Team members and 2019 World Cup come to Chicago to support this terrific sold out local race (Close to 6,700 people completed the 5k/10k race). The BTN Big race donated $5,000 to Alive Rescue and another $5,000 for Special Olympics Chicago.

Packet pick up was offered on Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to the Sunday race.  This race is the only race that lets you select your school-specific shirt. I proudly selected Northwestern University which was bright purple: go wild cats! And for those that do not want to select a specific school, they could choose the BTN fan shirt. This event has gone all green with a virtual goody bag.

This year, the race started and finished at the historic Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. One of the benefits of downtown races is being able to bike to the start (great warm up and cool down). The course ran south along the beautiful lakefront and came back north on the path.

The 10K and 5K races features assigned start corrals to maintain a safe and fun course for all participants. The 10K started at 7 a.m. and the 5K started at 8 a.m. Despite the assigned corrals and different start times, the size of this year’s event made for it difficult to spread out runners along the course.

It was a humid Sunday morning, and there were three water and Gatorade stops along the 10k route and two water sprinklers along the course which was quite refreshing. In addition to runners’ families and friends, the summer in Chicago brings thousands of tourists, many of who were cheering for runners all along the course. This year all participants got a fun and colorful BTN medal.

The finish line was packed with Big Ten mascots, cheerleaders, food, live music, beer and interactive games. This is one of my favorite post-race parties, as runners and their families get to enjoy the morning in gorgeous Grant Park, with views of the beautiful city skyline and perfect summer weather in Chicago.

This has become one of my favorite events in the city; I love the enthusiasm of Big Ten team fans. If you are a competitive runner, I highly recommend submitting race results to get priority start corral assignments. There were some speedy runners at this race!

Congratulations to everyone who came to celebrate and participated in this fun event.  It is hard to believe that football season is about to start!

Male 10K Winners

  1. Kevin Lewis                30:17
  2. Dan Kremske              30:17
  3. Chris Robertson          31:37

Female 10k Winners

  1. Jane Bareikis              35:09
  2. Lauren Kersjes            35:26
  3. Kristina Aubert            35:36

Male 5K Winners

  1. Mario Ospina              17:05
  2. Daniel Stanton Jr        17:10
  3. Robert Perry               17:37

Female 5K Winners

  1. Jamie Hershfang         18:57
  2. Annette Gulseth          19:42
  3. Elizabeth Jordan         19:46
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Erika has been an endurance athlete for over 20 years. She fell in love with running in her 20’s in graduate school, working full time and being a single mother. Running became time for reflection. She has run over 30 marathons and countless triathlons; qualified for 70.3 World championships. To qualify for Kona is her next goal! She loves being a mom to a wonderful young lady and a fur puppy (cocker spaniel). Travel and exploring new places to train around the world is a passion. She is a licensed clinical counselor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma. She spent 15 years in academia and has recently taken a role as a clinical director to focus on her clinical work. Erika believes in the therapeutic benefits of endurance training for people who struggle with mental health illness and stress. She is patiently waiting until we can all travel and race safely again, until then she recommends staying active, healthy. and consistent.


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