It was 86 degrees for my run on Tuesday. I had to pull out my winter tights to run the Flint Hills Resource Forte 5k on Saturday. This is running in Chicagoland!
It was a perfect, though chilly, fall day at Channahon State Park. New Race Director Robyn Bumgarner had taken over this fundraiser for Channahon School District music departments and was whirling around at faster than marathon pace.
This fun, friendly race draws a varied crowd consisting of recovering marathoners all the way to walkers with strollers.
We lined up on the road where the school choir proudly sang the National Anthem. The first mile of this 5k loop is on the street as we headed towards what the locals call Moose Island – part of the Will County Forest Preserve. I ran this mile with my friend John and we both were awed by two beautiful horses frolicking to our right.
We crossed over the I&M Canal for the second time and entered the forest preserve for a quick, sunny loop on paved road and trail. Trees were changing colors and migratory birds were visible on the DuPage River as we headed down an incline towards the I&M Canal Trail.
From here, the trail takes us the last mile back to the finish within Channahon State Park. Along the way I passed a runner family celebrating the youngest girl’s second birthday with a run.
Along this segment I ran past the school band playing Gonna Fly Now. Such fun and support!
This was an emotional race for me as it was on the anniversary of my father’s death. He is the one who gave me my love of nature. There was a flock of geese, his favorites, on the river and I promptly broke into tears. Fortunately whirling dervish RD Robyn was finally standing still at the end of the bridge and I stopped for a hug and ugly cry. She pushed me on and I finished in the beautiful state park. Imagine my surprise when I won my age group despite my socializing and cathartic cry!
Post-race snacks include bottled water and homemade baked goods. It’s like a free bake sale. The race hoodie is well-made and cozy.
Five-year age group winners received trophies and top three overall for each gender were awarded soft blankets. This is definitely a must-do race for next year.
OVERALL MALE WINNERS
Jared Macari 17:40
Alexander Forster 18:42
JT Markland 19:22
OVERALL FEMALE WINNERS
Michelle Barnes 22:57
Eileen Skisak 23:24
Shelli Blenck 23:56