The ninth annual and final year of College of DuPage’s Food Truck Rally and Sunset 5k took place this past Saturday in Glen Ellyn, Ill. The event, which draws several thousand each year is more than just a 5K race; it’s an afternoon long event starting at 1 p.m. and wraps up at 8 p.m. The USATF-certified Sunset 5K race started at 4:30 p.m. with both the start and finish lines inside of COD’s football stadium.
I had decided to run in this race knowing that it funded academic scholarships for fifteen students. I had attended COD some years ago and had fond memories of the school. Accompanied with a few family members I arrived early for packet pickup. Fifteen food trucks offering items such as lobster rolls and pierogis to barbeque and funnel cakes and were on hand to satisfy attendees palates. Indoors were science demonstrations taking place, a fun zone for the kids and giveaways from the multitude of vendors on hand.
As race time approached, I made my way to the football field to join a large group of participants being led in pre-race warmup exercises. While warming up I couldn’t help but notice the overhead skies. The skies had been overcast much of the day but now I could see that rain clouds were headed our way. After a few pre-race announcements we were off. The racecourse is laid out across the vast campus of the college. We never had to run on streets nor encounter traffic along the course. I had hoped that the rain wouldn’t arrive as quickly as it did though. About ten minutes after the race began it started to rain steadily drenching everyone quickly.
Aside from the chilling effect of the rain mixed with temps in the upper 50’s I enjoyed running in the downpour. It’s not something I’d like to do everyday but knowing that in few short months outdoor running will consist of ice, sleet and freezing temperatures I was content with the current conditions. I never heard nor saw any lightening which was a good thing for all. However, I did hear the chanting cadences of about twenty personnel members of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department who were running in unison not far behind me. After a short time, I was following along in my head with some of their chanting while thinking to myself I’ve got twenty cops running behind me. It’s funny were the mind drifts.
After crossing the finish line, I grabbed some of the post-race refreshments and headed to the fitness center as did most of the other runners. It seemed to get colder once the running stopped and it appeared that the rain was coming down a little harder now. Near the entrance to the fitness center I watched a live ice sculpting demo and took a quick tour of the commercial, decorative and antique trucks on display.
Indoors a live band on stage, raffle prizes and other kids’ activities were on the program for those who stayed after the race. Close to nine-hundred runners crossed the finish line in this final Sunset 5k race. We were wet and maybe a bit cold, but I saw lots of smiles, laughing and high-fives after the race. I reached out to race management to ask why this was the last year for this event given that it draws as many participants and spectators as it does. I was told that they want to expand on this and do something different next year. I’ll be looking forward to it.