How do you put on a race that has a 40 year history in a pandemic and still have it feel like a welcoming, community event that wasn’t forced to completely change?
That is what the organizers of the Frosty 5 Mile were tasked with in 2021.
The Channahon Park District, organizers of the long time race, knew that they would face some obstacles for their February event, but took it all head on to create something that did not feel too out of the ordinary.
The first challenge was the location. Their normal base of operations is the Pioneer Path School gym. With restrictions in place, gathering all the runners inside the gym beforehand while having it clean enough for the children for the school week presented a problem. So the traditionally Sunday-held race was now on Saturday. Without use of the gym, the next step was to solve the problem of keeping the participants apart.
Usually a race of 200 or so people, this year, participants were able to sign up for time slots that started every hour from 10am to 1pm, holding 50 people per wave. The result was smaller groups interacting with each other while picking up packets, at the start line, and on the course.
Finally, what to do about the traditional post-race pizza? We’ll problem solved there, too. Instead of pizza in the cafeteria, a food truck was brought in to give out cups of warm, soft pretzel bites, which warmed the body right up from the 11 degree temperatures.
Of course, the weekend’s snow made things fun for organizers, too, but the city did a wonderful job keeping the streets as clear as they could, apparently plowing some sections as many as four times throughout the morning. The course does wind through both city and township streets, so not every road was perfect, but, that’s what you get for choosing to race in February. No complaints about the weather allowed.
The resiliency of the Channahon Park District is to be commended in 2021, putting on a wonderful event, as always. There is a reason why the Frosty 5 Mile continues to be a popular destination for runners in the southwest suburbs and all over Chicagoland, and it was proven why once again.