The Windrunner 10k can probably lay claim to the title as one of Chicagoland running’s best kept secrets. 2017 was the race’s 30th year and routinely gets about 350 runners to come out and run up and down the limestone trails of the Danada Forest Preserve.
The race itself has kind of an old school, cross country feel to it. A good chunk of the participants come out as part of a team race for their running club and the small, intimate race site combined with a hilly, not-for-the-weak course makes for a race where runners need to gut it out and focus on racing the person next to you as opposed to the clock.
This is especially true on a day like yesterday, where the temperatures and humidity seemed to increase exponentially as the morning went on. The course is beautiful and most of the middle miles are shaded, but the bright sun and lack of any kind of breeze made for a difficult morning. (I know there are a handful of runners out there that were able to run pretty decent times, and I give an extra tip of the cap to you for being able to do so.)
One part of the race that keeps the runners coming back, though, is the post race food. The tent is filled with goodies with food options on all sides, compete with pizza, ice pops, homemade cookies, fruit, and more. Though many of the runners still plan to go out to eat at one of the many local restaurants after the race – as many of us tend to do – the post race spread at the Windrunner 10k will leave you with a full belly, turning the traditional post-race breakfast into more like a coffee stop.
The Windrunner 10k is a great end-of-the-summer test for runners looking to get in a race longer than a 5k while preparing for a longer distance later in the fall. The hilly course and competitive field will give your legs a tough test while the Danada trails can help you to get in some post-run miles, if you need it. The race is prefect for anyone that wants to get up, get in a race, chill out for a little bit, and go home, and the simplicity of it is what makes it a local favorite.