New Year’s Day 5K

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Sunday, hundreds of runners celebrated the new year with the NYD5K along the lakefront in Lincoln Park. Conditions were balmy compared to last year’s freezing and icy conditions, and some even braved t-shirts and shorts. There were over 350 timed runners and many more untimed runners and walkers that participated in the event.

The race began at 11 a.m., allowing athletes ample time to recover from New Year’s Eve festivities and easy parking utilizing the Chicago History Museum lot right across from the start which allowed for people to stay warm in their cars.

The lakefront path course consisted of one loop with two water stations. The course was well-marked with ample volunteers and hardly any foot traffic other than racers.  The event was friendly for walkers and runners alike and provided clocks at each mile.

Birant Akbay was the overall male winner with a time of 16:53 and Cara Paliaka won the women’s race crossing at 19:50.  Racers crossed the finish and were offered steaming hot chocolate, water, bananas and other refresh items from sponsors.  Thanks to the warmer temps, lots of runners hung around and cheered on others as they crossed the finish in their first race of 2017.  Overall, this race is well organized, easy for downtown Chicago standards and definitely one to put on your radar for next year.


This race has been a tradition for friends and I for a handful of years. Many times, the 5K is followed by brunch at a local spot where we reflect on the past year and start conspiring about future race schedules.  My highlight this year was having my resolution on the back of the shirt along with my girlfriends. My goal: “Ten pounds till Italy.”  I left myself some wiggle room whether that is losing, gaining or a little of both.  Either way, it was great to see so many people being active on January 1. Here is to an awesome racing season in Chicago!

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Nicole once thought that the timed mile in high school was a form of torture. In an ironic turn of events, racing is now part of half her weekends in a given year and would take an early Saturday race over a Friday night out everytime. A self-proclaimed "back of the packer", Nicole loves triathlons and run races with her favorite distances being the half marathon and olympic distance triathlon. She works full time as a health care administrator and lives in Skokie with her husband, son and spoiled dog. You can find her race reports, musing and other random thoughts on her blog.

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