If you want to run and got to run why not run for education? That’s what close to fifteen-hundred people did at this Saturday’s Got2Run for Education races in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The Northwest Road Runners club hosted its eighth annual running of this event to raise funds for education. The event consisted of a 2.62 mile and an 8 km race, which distributes all proceeds to the school of the participant’s choice to fund activities that promote wellness.
I opted to sign up for the shorter 2.62-mile race when I registered. The entry fee for this race is a nominal $20 for adults and $15 for students which is quite reasonable. Another encouraging point is that race organizers last year were able to donate $15 per participant. The large turnout of participants, keeping expenses to a minimum and thirty sponsors are all contributing factors to having a larger pool of funds to distribute.
Parking was convenient with several municipal garages located within a block of the race venue. Rain had been forecast for later in the afternoon, so I was glad that the 8 a.m. start would have us run under clear, cool skies. The race route is run on residential streets through Arlington Heights and had plenty of volunteer support along the way.
After some pre-race announcements and the singing of the national anthem, runners led by a very enthusiastic group of kids took off in sprint fashion. The race start was split into two corrals in which you would enter the corral of the race distance you were competing in. I held back for a while before entering my corral to watch the action at the start and let most participants get on course.
I knew this event was to benefit kids, but I was surprised by how many kids were participating. It’s great that they were out here on a Saturday morning having fun and doing something healthy. But running surrounded by kids calls for some extra caution. A few times along the route I had kids abruptly stop and start walking or just come to a standstill in front of me. I had to be careful to adjust my pace or quickly run around them to avoid running into anyone. Along the way one boy, maybe about 9 years old, was sitting in the middle of the street with his shoes off just smiling and watching other participants go by. It was funny to see. I think he just decided he needed a break and wanted to cool off his feet.
As we progressed along the route the crowd thinned out which helped with the logistical navigation of circumventing the young ones. There were a number of folks who came out of their homes to cheer on the runners. We passed one house that put out a table with a large pitcher of lemonade, cups and a huge bowl of popcorn. This unofficial aid station was manned by a mom and three somewhat bewildered very young kids. I can see the benefit of the lemonade as a thirst quencher but don’t know for sure if consuming popcorn in a race will boost one’s performance. But thanks to them for coming out to support the runners.
After crossing the finish line runners had a good selection of snacks to refuel. Being a kid-oriented event there was face painting, free stickers, magnets, backpack tags and other goodies for the kids. Age-group medals were awarded to the top three male and female finishers in both races.
I enjoyed this event and like the fact that much of my entry fee money goes straight to the cause it supports. If the opportunity is available next year, I’ll give the 8k race a try.