Christmas in July 

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Christmas in July is perfect for any runners/walkers. This race offers a 5K, along with 6, 12 or 24-hour endurance races that can be done solo or in a relay. There’s also a Santa Fun Run for kids.

The 6/12/24-hour timed event took runners on a USATF-certified paved one-mile loop course around a lake in Lisle Community Park, Lisle, IL on Friday and Saturday. Race information was well communicated on the event Facebook page. Packet pick up was available on Wednesday and Thursday at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle as well as on-site pick up on race day.

I chose to pick the packet up at Dick Pond on Thursday and it was very efficient process.  Race swag included a t-shirt and your choice of knit cap or a water bottle.

The start and finish line was very festive; race promoters were not misleading in its theme advertising. A snowman, Santa Claus and Reindeers were all at start line, and the course was well marked with Christmas lights and more decorations. Christmas music was also played at aid stations.

I participated in the six-hour timed race that started at midnight.

Plenty of onsite Parking spaces were available when I arrived at 11:30 p.m.  I cheered for the 12 and 24-hour-timed race runners before my six-hour race began.  The 24-hour timed race began at 10 p.m. and the 12-hour began at 11 p.m., and the start and finish were the same for all distances.

July weather in the Chicagoland area is always unpredictable.  I parked the car at 11:30 p.m. and my car showed 86F and 90 percent humidity. The race started in that humidity, but rain started to drop around 2:30 a.m. and drizzled all night.  By 5 a.m., heavy rain poured on runners.  My bath-towel came handy after the race.

This was my first ultra and first night race! I didn’t know what to expect, but was glad I brought head lamps.  Little bumps and small holes on the ground in the middle of night seemed like big obstacles, but luckily I managed to catch myself before I went face down.

Pacers for the 24-hour timed runners only are allowed at this race. Another highlight for this event is spectators and relay runners are allowed to set up tents and camp out.  I saw many tents decorated in Green and Red, one had a Christmas tree and another one put a movie screen on the top of the hills.  Overall, it is a great family summer event for everyone.

Race organizers gave us plenty warning to bring your own cups/bottles to the race.  I love how they eliminated all paper and plastic cups from this race, but of course this was the very first race I forgot I left my water bottle for hydration belt in my fridge. Luckily my after race water bottle came handy. I quickly put duct tape with my name on the water bottle and left it at aid station.  I felt like an elite runner grabbing my personal water bottle every time I stopped at an aid station.

Aid stations offered anything and everything you could think of: potato chips, gummies, Pretzels, banana, watermelon, orange, pizza, pancakes and more. Thanks to all volunteers who kept water and Gatorade perfectly ice cold.

This race is perfect for the first time ultra runners and those like me who are fearful of snakes, poison ivy and muddy trails.  I do, however, wish I brought bug spray.

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