Who doesn’t love Thursday night racing in the city?
Despite the fact that Thursday night races take place almost every week in the city from May until the end of summer- and sometimes in the suburbs, too- people are still amazed when they hear these events take place. Thursday night races have a different feel than the typical weekend race with people coming out to run and have fun after a full day at work. The events are still competitive but these races tend to feel more like a fun night out than a “everyone has to try and run a PR” type event.
The Universal Sole 4 Mile Classic is traditionally one of the first Thursday night races on the calendar for the year and it embodies all of the traits a Thursday night event should. The race site set up includes just a few sponsor tents and there is a general, jovial attitude throughout the crowd before and after the event. Thunderstorms were predicted that evening, but, as race time got closer, the start time for the rain moved later and later. The predicted rain caused more no-shows than normal, but those that did come were ready to run and happy to do so.
Being a city race, there were more than a couple young, super-fast runners in the field. Not knowing how exactly you’ll feel when racing after a day at work, most people tend to feel out the course a little more than they would at a weekend morning race, and towards the front, packs start to form. The competitors going for the win tend to test out the rest of the field a little more than normal. (Evidenced by the fact that the top two finishers let me lead the pack for the first mile, despite me being pretty sure that both of them were significantly faster than I was.)
All competitors faced the same challenges of a puddle-filled path, rising temps, not-yet-mowed grass sections, muddy areas, and, of course, a jaunt up Cricket Hill with half a mile to go. The shared experience of a tough run helped to build comradery throughout the field and high-fives, handshakes, and conversations continued all throughout the evening.
Thursday night races like the Universal Sole 4 Mile Classic are a staple of the Chicagoland running community. Find one this summer and get out of your comfort zone. Many of these races offer post-race parties on site or at local establishments, so what better way to spend a Thursday night than running, food, drinks, and new friends? Check out the calendar at www.myracepal.com for all upcoming races.