Oak Forest Fleadh


It was a beautiful day for a run.

Saturday morning was chilly, crisp but sunny in Chicago with temperatures in the low 30’s. The race was 40 minutes from the city, and I arrived with plenty of time for packet pick up and to do a quick warm up.

This was the ninth year for the CNB Oak Forest Fleadh 5K, which kicks off a day of events celebrating Irish culture and heritage, including a parade down Cicero Avenue shortly after the race. The race attracted about 300 runners, with people wearing some great costumes, as well as many families with young children. I love seeing parents running with their kids, teaching and embracing a healthy lifestyle.

At the start of the race, I noticed that the timing mats were placed before the start line, which I found a little unusual, but I lined up myself with the front pack. My plan was to run a steady tempo pace but not all out.

This fast-rolling course takes you through the heart of the celebrations as you race up and down Cicero Avenue. The course starts at 159th and Cicero for about a mile before turning into a neighborhood for another mile, and back onto Cicero for the last mile. There were several spectators cheering along the course which is always great. There were two water stops and plenty of food at the finish line.

I stayed after the race to catch up with some of the runners, including second overall female Amanda Heller (20:29) from Glen Ellyn and Steven Amann (22:30) from Oak Forest, it was Amanda’s first time doing this race and Steven has ran this race for several years. Steven shared his strategy with the course; the wind is usually a factor when running back to the finish line but today we had perfect running conditions. I agreed with him, the weather could not have been better.

John Penland was the overall winner with a speedy time of 16:19, with a 5:19 minute pace.  The female winner was Megan Brewczyski with a time of 19:42.

The race itself was awesome, with a fast course and great venue.  Shout out to Southland photography for being out there and posting pictures on Facebook the same evening!


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