For Memorial Day weekend this year, I decided to head over to Western Springs to race. This year was the 42nd edition of the Tower Trot; a race does not last that long without having a great overall event, community support, and organization.
It was my first time heading to this race and my first time in the downtown area of Western Springs. Though I checked the website for directions and a course map beforehand, the location of the start line was almost unusual in the fact that it was nestled right next to a community park surrounded by houses. I made an effort to drive to a parking area that was away from where the start and finish lines were, but in doing so, I got a little turned around as I didn’t pass by any of the race set up on my way over. After only walking an extra two blocks past the street I needed to be on, upon arriving at the race site, I found a great set-up scrunched into the neighborhood with plenty of eager, smiling faces ready for the race to go.
I registered for The Double, meaning I’d be running the 10k at 8:30 and then the 5k at 9:30. It seemed like a great idea a month ago when I signed up and the temperatures in the area barely got up to 50. This weekend, however, was the first truly hot and humid weekend of the year and runners had not yet been able to adjust to the conditions. Even though an effort was made by several of the runners in the 10k to slow down a bit, the conditions definitely played a factor. The aid stations along the way were well stocked and the volunteers were very supportive and friendly, which was a welcome site, especially when running up the several small inclines along the race route that seemed like mountains in the sun and humidity.
After the 10k ended, there was only a short period of time before the 5k began. Many of the top runners in the 10k were also participating in the double and, while speaking with them in the start area for the second race, it became apparent that many of them also thought that maybe another 3.1 miles was not going to be as enjoyable as it once sounded, but we had to suck it up and run anyway.
While the die-hards had the opportunity to race twice, there was still an option for everyone at the event. In addition to the 10k and 5k, there was also a fun run/walk mile option, and it seems like the whole community really embraces the race and had made it a holiday weekend tradition.
One of the things that really stuck out was the number of kids- around 4th, 5th, and 6th grade- that were running the 5k. Not that this is an unusual site, but the percentage of kids running was definitely noticeable and many of them ran in groups, audibly cheering on their friends as they snaked through the course. Not only have the runners and residents in the area turned out year after year for this event, they have gotten their children to embrace the event as well, which is good for the event and for the future running community in general.