For close to 900 hundred runners, this year’s Fourth of July holiday celebration started out by running in the 4 on the 4th road race in Elmhurst, Ill. This annual event, in its 15thyear, was presented by the Elmhurst Running Club.
The race is a local favorite and attracts an elite group of runners from all over the Chicago area. It is a certified loop course taking runners out and back over the same streets giving competitors an opportunity to see where they are compared to others on the course. The morning temps were in the mid 70’s but the humidity index was at 84 percent, making for a muggy morning. Water stations along the course would see plenty of thirsty runners drinking or dousing themselves with cups of water to stay cool.
This race was the first race I registered for when I got into running a few years ago. So, for me it’s an annual tradition that I sign up for every year. If rain is not in the forecast, I live close enough to the race start at Elmhurst College that I will ride my bike there and back for the event which I did.
The race started promptly at 7:15 a.m. with runners racing down a slight hill and heading through residential streets for a mile leading to York Rd. I like this part of the course the most where we run on York Rd. out and back for two miles. We run past local shops, restaurants and through Elmhurst’s commercial retail district before returning to the residential streets leading to the finish. The course is flat except for a street overpass we run under. There are plenty of volunteers at each turn and manning the water stations.
As runners approach the race finish, they will climb that “slight hill” they enjoyed at the start of the race. But now it doesn’t seem so slight. The last quarter-mile push up that incline does takes extra effort. And just as I witnessed last year, another runner this year was laying on the ground to side of the course receiving oxygen and assistance from paramedics.
Notwithstanding typical July weather which may not bring the ideal weather conditions for strenuous activity runners appeared to enjoy themselves afterwards with cold water and snacks. Many of the race participants and families stayed until after the regular race for the kids one-kilometer race which seemed to me to have more kids participating than in past years which was great.
Congratulationsto first place male and female winners, Dhruvil Patel of Skokie (19:11) and Marisa Hird of Naperville (23:52). And special congrats to the oldest finisher in the race ninety-four-year-old Robert Taylor of Oak Park.