This race had social distancing standards in place before anyone had ever even heard of such things, so previous participants of the World’s Largest Corn Maze 5k saw very few changes to the 2020 event that wound through the Richardson’s Adventure Farm corn maze in Sugar Grove.
All participants were assigned a start time and asked to not arrive to the start area until a couple of minutes before their scheduled time to help promote social distancing. Once at the start, they were released into the maze one person every 10 seconds. (In the past, it had been a three second gap allowed.) All Community Events has now been able to put on a couple of events this fall and they have used the experience learned from previous corn maze races to help transition to traditional road races.
The race itself is like no other and a tough experience for even the most seasoned racer. With dozens upon dozens of turns and switchbacks, you never really get a chance to get into a groove as far as pacing yourself, and those that are trying to go for top placement awards feel like they are competing in a three mile, sprint fartlek workout with their actual split times not matching up to the effort level. It is very much a mental race as you need to pay attention to your footing and what is directly ahead of you as turns can sometimes be just feet apart. Combined with never really knowing where you are in the maze or what direction you are going, pushing yourself to the finish line can be a challenge.
At the race finish, runners were given a bag of goodies and encouraged to head out of the area. Those that stayed at the farm for a bit were able to see some of the attractions and pick up some freshly made cider donuts (which taste even better when warmed up, I learned).
The Corn Maze 5k is a fun, unique experience for the whole family and a trip up to Richardson’s Adventure Farm is a yearly fall tradition for many Chicago area families. Now, that tradition just happens to include running a 5k beforehand.
***Photos courtesy of All Community Events.