If you could create a checklist of everything runners try to avoid while racing in the Chicagoland area in the middle of the summer, it would look something like this:
- Heat wave with scary heat indexes: Check
- Humidity that resembles the Gulf of Mexico: Check
- Forest preserve with zero air due to humidity and minimal air flow: Check
- Deceptional hilly race course: Check
The next thing I’m about to tell you shouldn’t shock you: the Amita Health Fit Half Marathon has all of the above. Obviously, the weather is never a guarantee, but famous Chicago summers usually provide a July full of more heat and humidity than anything else. This weekend just happened to top the record charts.
The Amita Health Fit America Half Marathon is an All Community Events race that takes place in Hoffman Estates and is run throughout the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. This weekend Mother Nature tested the entire country (or so it seemed) and All Community Events made the decision to allow runners to transfer their entry to a lesser distance or an entirely separate All Community Events race later in the year. I have run this race in years past, and I could definitely tell that the crowds were much scarcer due to the weather and the option to transfer races.
I showed up and was a little “fooled” by the weather. The cloud cover and breeze had me convinced that the weatherman might be wrong again (yet still have a job). After I picked up my packet on site, I visited a porta potty (conveniently located very close to the start area), and took off for a short 15-minute warm up. It was at THAT time I knew the heat was out for blood.
We toed the line and the first few miles were run through the corporate campus. Just around mile three is when you take the turn into the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve; it’s at this moment that the real hurt begins. The heat and humidity already had a head start on your body for three miles, so now it was time for the course to enter the deceptional hilly section (until mile 12) matched with minimal air.
Having raced this distance many times, I was not expecting to be tested as much as I was. Runners had to dig deep to find their inner grit to put one foot in front of the other. Aid stations were stocked with water and Gatorade, a few even supplied ice to participants. The race director also decided to add another aid station at the last minute that half marathoners and 10k runners passed twice. I can say without any hesitation that this was welcomed by all runners.
After the first hour of the race, the sun came out of hibernation from the clouds and made everyone work that much harder for the finish line. I knew this wasn’t going to be a record-setting day, so I made sure to stay cool, keep myself in control of my own race, and just log the miles. Because at the end of the day, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right?
The finish line greeted me and so did the plethora of water and popsicles provided by the race. The sugar from that popsicle brought me back to life and I couldn’t have been more thankful. Overall, I would suggest this race if you’re looking to test your fitness and set a goal for a hefty training day. Because this race will always be sure throw a curveball your way.