Naperville Women’s Half Marathon & 5K

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On Sunday, April 28, over 2,000 runners took to the streets of Naperville to participate in the Naperville Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. The race started and ended on the track of North Central College in downtown Naperville. Staggered starts ensured all runners had space in the corrals and throughout the course with half marathon-ers starting at 7 a.m. and 5K-ers starting at 7:30 a.m.

Parking was available in several lots and along residential streets surrounding the college campus. Most runners had less than a half mile to walk to gear check and the start line. There was even an indoor waiting area in one of the college buildings where runners could escape the morning chill.

With an April snowstorm the day prior, it was unclear what condition the course would be in, however the early morning sun got rid of most of the snow and ice throughout. During the pre-race announcements, runners were advised where the icy patches were located and were encouraged to take those portions slowly. I only noticed ice on the course located on the track and on a bridge just past mile 6. On my return to the track, all of the ice had cleared.

Runners crossed the start line on the North Central track and made about half a loop before exiting onto the campus streets. The half marathon course went through the campus, downtown area, and residential streets.

Nearly the entire course was lined with spectators, volunteers, and first responders. It was highly well attended despite the colder temps in the early morning hours. Aid stations were located every two miles where water and Gatorade were offered to runners.

The course only overlapped in a few small sections so runners had a clear path to enjoy the beautiful scenery of downtown and residential Naperville. We ran on city streets, sidewalks, a paved trail, and even a bricked walkway along the Naperville riverfront.

This race was well organized, amazingly staffed with first responders and volunteers, and a beautiful course. All runners received a short-sleeved, very soft, t-shirt, a pair of running socks, and a large heart-shaped medal. If you have not run this race, I encourage you to put it on your calendar for next year. Registration for the 2020 race will open in early May and entry slots will open at $1.00 each. When all of the available $1 slots are filled, the lowest price available will be $5.00, and so on in $5 increments until the standard entry fee is reached. This unique registration format really allows you to get a good deal on a race!

First through third half marathon finishers were: Katie Paolucci, Andrea Kruszka, and Becca Ward. First through third 5K finishers were: Maria Joerms, Kate Canfield, and Jen Hoeft.

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Mandi began running in middle school and never stopped. As a high school and college cheerleader, running was the exact athletic counterpart to keep her fitness levels high. While attending The John Marshall Law School in 2007, Mandi ran her first Chicago Marathon, the final year it was partnered with title sponsor, LaSalle Bank. Mandi has continued to run several half marathon and shorter distance races and looks forward to running in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. An Illinois licensed attorney, Mandi is currently the Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, a council of government representing 42 municipalities in Lake County. An avid weekend race warrior, Mandi tries to run 2-3 races each month from Milwaukee to Chicago and loves the opportunity to report about her experiences in Chicago Athlete

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