Roger Rabbit once said, “if you don’t have a good sense of humor, you’re better off dead.”
Luckily, the participants and organizers of the Faraway 5k all seemed to have a good sense of humor, because the weekend rains completely washed away everyone’s best laid plans for the race.
First time races always have a hiccup or two that get figured out in future years and race organizers had every single hiccup possible thrown at them at the race. Luckily, the staff at the Joliet Park District were able to manage all the problems and potential problems quickly and with a smile to create a great and memorable event for the brave souls that came out and braved the cold, wind, and rain.
The problems started with the weekend rains that turned the parking area, race site, and course into basically a muddy, zero-depth pool. Race organizers laid down hay the best they could to soak up some of the mud, but if you were there, wet, muddy feet were inevitable. The grass area that was supposed to be used for parking had its own share of large mud puddles so cars were eventually forced to park on the access road leading to the race, which quickly filled up.
The obstacle race was set up to be a great event for first time obstacle race participants. It was advertised as having none of the big-time obstacle race elements, specifically giant mud pits. That quickly became the joke of the day as 150 meters into the run, participants had to make their way through ankle deep water on the trail that lasted over 100 meters. After that, you would slip and slide your way through the field and the obstacles, splashing up more water with every step. The obstacles were still – for the most part – very safe to get through and the mud made for an extra fun time for some of them.
It seemed like everyone that crossed the finish line did so with a big smile on their face and they followed that up with a walk to the main tent to chow down on Buffalo Wing Wings wraps.
The way the cars needed to be parked, it took some patience and creativity to get everyone out. The Kendell County Sheriff’s Department helped direct cars out of their spots and on their way. (Big shout out to the sheriff that guided almost the whole road of cars out of the area, essentially giving three-point turn classes to more than a handful of drivers. Watching this guy work was like watching a magician.)
All in all, it ended up being a fun and memorable morning, but not for the reasons the race organizers probably originally envisioned. It will be a day that will be talked about for a long time and always followed with a laugh.