The Sly Fox races start early (7:00 a.m. – half marathon, 7:20 a.m. – 10K) on Saturday from the downtown area of St. Charles. Small, local races are the best and this is one of the best of the best. I have run this race four of the five years it has been held, and always finish vowing to run again next year.
The organizers do everything to make sure this is a top-notch event. Registration starts early and early pricing is very good. If you wait until the last minute, this race is fairly expensive but there are many chances to get a good price months before the race. As race day approaches, there is a lot of communication from the organizers about packet pickup (offered before and on race day), the course, the after party and the free parking. If you come to this race saying “you didn’t know”, you weren’t paying attention.
The race shirt is always nice and comes in both men’s and women’s cuts. This year’s shirt is a brilliant red and many racers were sporting the colorful shirt on race day. New this year (I think) were personalized race bibs which was a nice touch allowing people watching on the streets to call out your name in support.
What is the one thing runners worry about on race morning? Enough port-a-potties! I love orderly Midwesterners; one long line formed at the port-a-potties and it quickly cycled through as there were plenty available. I also notice one at the 10K turn around and I suspect there were more on the half marathon course.
Even though I’ve run this event before, I was still surprised by the hills. I knew there was a big hill before the 10K turn around, but I was still surprised by the almost continuous rise until that point. Of course, what goes up must come down and the last half of the course is mostly a fun downhill run. I heard a lot of “I wasn’t prepared for those hills” on the course and at the after party. Frankly, I like the hills, it’s a nice change from all the flat runs here in Chicagoland.
About seventy percent of this course is on open roads. While not ideal, there were frequent signs and lots of volunteers indicating where runners should stay and the locals know the race is going on and took care. The remainder of the course is on paved trails through a beautiful park.
The last leg of this race is a good downhill run to the finish line where the announcer is ready to call out your name, where you are from and which race you are finishing. The race medal is a nice heavy piece of metal and given to both the 10K and half marathon finishers.
The weather was perfect this weekend but given it is an April race that is not always the case. One of the great things about the Sly Fox is having the after party at a restaurant where you can get out of the elements if needed. This year, however, it was sunny and warm by the end of the race and most everyone was taking advantage of all the outdoor seating and enjoying their post-race meatball and sausage sandwiches, pizza and beer in the sun. It was lovely to sit in the sun, meet up with new and old friends and talk about the race just finished and those yet to come.
As I say every year, I will be back next year. Hope to see you there too!
10K Leaders – Male
- JOHN STAERK42:58
- JON WIRKUS43:30
- ALEXANDER SHEMYAKIN 45:16
10K Leaders – Female
- ANNETTE GULSETH 42:07
- KRISTEN PEMBERTON 44:14
- KAREN MUELLER 48:49
Half Marathon Leaders – Male
- CHRISTOPHER CEBULA 1:17:06
- TOM DANNER 1:17:06
- ELIAS THEODOSIS 1:21:04
Half Marathon Leaders – Female
- GINA NARCISI 1:27:21
- JENNIE MUELLER 1:29:57
- JULIE MALLEK 1:29:57