Runners are a funny bunch, we all know that. We have our own language, too. For instance, when we cross a finish line and say, in between deep breaths of exhaustion, “that sucked,” it means, “boy, that was hard, and fun, and I had the time of my life. I’m glad I did that.” See? Our own language.
150 runners got out this past Saturday and did what many of us have not been able to do for most of the past year, run a race. F^3, known for their traditional Lakefront Half Marathon, switched things up for their in-person event this January and held a trail 10k at The Forge in Lemont.
I have never been to The Forge before, and it is certainly an interesting place. It is an adventure park with a plethora of outdoor activities and a place that seems like it will be very popular in the future when things begin to open up a bit more. It sits right on the the I & M Canal and is surrounded by limestone paths.
Those limestone paths were covered in snow this past Saturday and traction was at a minimum. The runners kept their legs turning, though, through snow paths and single track sections through the woods for a hard fought run, which is what racing in January is all about.
The race had several safety precautions in place, like wave starts and no gear check, and it never really felt like it was hard to keep your distance from everyone else. Everyone there seems to be pretty good about minding the space of everyone else around them, which is what we will all need to do for the near future if we want to see more races return to the schedule. (Every last one of us.)
As exciting as it was to actually race and to feel the drive to push yourself a little harder that day, the best part of F^3’s 10k at The Forge was all the smiling eyes of the runners peaking out above their masks. Seeing people I have not seen in almost a year, even from a few feet away, was the best and most uplifting feeling. I hope we all get to experience this soon.