The 15thAnnual Cantigny 5k Run/Walk took place Saturday morning on the beautifully landscaped grounds of Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Ill. The event is organized to raise funds to support the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans. The race is run entirely on the 500-acre former estate of publishing titan Col. Robert R. McCormick.
The temperature was a crisp 36 degrees at the start of the race, but it didn’t seem to deter anyone from enjoying the morning. I had run in this event a few years ago and was looking forward to another enjoyable race again this morning. Packet pickup at the visitor’s center was quick; participants, families, and volunteers mingled in the visitor’s center staying warm or out on the local grounds until the start of the race.
The race started at 9 a.m. with over 700 participants moving into action after hearing the thunderous boom of the military cannon fired to start the race. I ran the course taking in the scenery and fall colors along the way. The course is paved and offers a few gently rolling hills; it winds through the park’s golf course, and past some buildings and monuments. A crowd cheering on finishers could be heard from a distance as I approached the last turn to the finish line. After crossing the finish line, I walked back up along the course to cheer on other runners biding my time until the 10 a.m. awards ceremony.
Top-three male/female finishers and age-group awards were given out. Alex Bashqawi of Elmhurst, Ill. was the overall male winner. Patricia Harrison of Chicago, Ill. won the female division. A one-mile youth run, and quarter-mile tot run followed the awards ceremony. It was cute to see the little ones take off in a sprint with some of the parents running along side urging their kids to run faster.
After the race activities were over many people headed out onto the park’s grounds to view the military tanks, vehicles and other historic artifacts on display outside. Kids climbed on top of these vehicles as parents took photographs and shouted, “Don’t fall!” or “Don’t hurt yourself!” repeatedly. I along with others made our way to the First Division Military Museum which chronicles the history of the U.S. Army’s First Division unit. All the parks museums and amenities were free to race participants this morning. It was a nice relaxing and educational way to end the morning.