The Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) presented its 11thannual Lawndale 5k run/walk event this past Saturday with over 1,300 participants energized and excited toeing the start line. The event raises funds that help provide medical and pharmaceutical services, counseling, and job training. The LCHC complex now has a fitness center, urban greenhouse with a market for selling the locally grown produce. LCHS has grown over the years and is an oasis in this diverse neighborhood.
I have run this race a few times over the years and always had a good experience, so I decided to enter this year again. The entry fee is a nominal $20, and the money supports much-needed programs, and everyone took home a tech-shirt, fandana, and finishers medal.
I arrived at the race site about an hour before the event started. I liked the fact that this was not an early-bird start; the race was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. I easily found parking on a side-street about a block from the race start. Packet pick-up and gear check was quick. I did a little warming up, talked to some of the volunteers and made my way to the start line when race time approached.
The race starts on the north edge of Ogden Ave. with runners heading east for about a quarter mile before they turn north onto Central Park Ave. They continue to Douglas Blvd., turn right and continue to Albany Ave. At Albany Ave., runners hang right, continue for about a quarter mile and make the 180-turn back running the same route back to the finish. The public streets we ran on were closed off for the race and the streets were in decent shape. As the lead runners made their way back to the finish loud cheers went up from the other runners and walkers that they passed.
This is a community-oriented event with many local-residents and their families participating. I saw various youth groups and a few church congregations participate. They were wearing similar shirts with their group affiliation names on them. There were plenty of after-race activities for families and kids to engage in. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and many people stayed around for the post-race raffle. As far as raffles go this was one of the best I’ve ever seen offered at a local fundraising event. About 10 sets of four tickets each for a Chicago Bulls game, a team autographed Chicago Bulls basketball, and a racing bike were raffled off.
I had another good race experience at this year’s Lawndale 5k and will run again next year if I can. The energy, excitement, music made the day for me. I was pumped up enough that I wandered into the LCHS fitness center and ran a few more miles on one of the treadmills before heading home.