The race I participated in on Sunday was not my first rodeo. However, it was my first stampede; the Buffalo Grove Stampede 5k / 10k race to be precise. This family-friendly event is part of the annual Buffalo Grove Days festival and the 10k version has been on my race radar for years. Unfortunately, due to construction, the 10k USATF Certified route, which normally meanders through a section of the Lake County Forest Preserve, was a slightly-modified double loop of the 5k that traverses neighborhood streets and the paths of Willow Stream Park.
I arrived at the race site around 6:45 a.m. for the 7:30 race start and was able to find parking and get in a brief warmup. I was happy to see fellow Chicago Athlete Ambassador Jacqui Giuliano and her husband Ryan Giuliano were also racing. It had rained hard overnight and we talked about how surprisingly warm and humid it still was before seeding ourselves into the start corral.
Within the first quarter mile, the skies opened up again and racers were subjected to a deluge. Running wet is not one of my favorite things to do but I was determined to get through the next six miles. There were some minor elevation changes on the 5k loop, but nothing too dramatic. After the first mile there was a water station before turning onto the blacktop park path. The blacktop was slick from the rain, so I chose to run in the grass alongside it when possible. One of the highlights of the course is crossing the McHenry Road bridge into a wooded canopy before heading out for the second loop.
For much of the first 5k I heard the patter of feet from a young man wearing Bib #1096. He kept me motivated without saying a word. It’s so wonderful to see so many young people running in these events; it definitely adds to the feeling of community. Roughly 20 percent of the 5k field were under the age of 14!
On the second half, a number of 10k runners “herded” together and pulled each other to the finish line. The volunteers along the route were incredibly supportive.
The 10k course diverts down a sidewalk instead of the main street for the finish. It was a little confusing to have two seperate finish lines where participants were greeted with ample water, bananas, and quarter pieces of bagel. I was just happy to cross a line with my first official sub-one-hour 10k.
The awards presentation was delayed until most of the runners had completed the course. There was some grumbling about how long the process took, but, was probably due to the fact many of us were still soaked from the run!
Overall winners in the 5k included powerhouse couple Ryan Giuliano for the men and Jacqui Giuliano for the women. The 10k Overall winners included Arturs Bareikis and Jane Bareikis for the men and women respectively. Interestingly, the female athletes each took 3rd place overall in both distances. Given the race conditions there were some incredibly fast times. All results can be found at: http://www.mychicagoathlete.com/race-results/