The Morton Arboretum ninth annual Champion of Trees 10K was truly a springtime winter wonderland! Light snow began falling before the race, followed by an all-out snowfall creating a wintery, beautiful scene throughout the course.
As I ran, I felt as if it the winter and the holidays were approaching us rather than spring time as the trees were fully covered in snow, and workers ran to cover some of the plants. I love running in the snow, and it seemed the runners around me agreed; we were more than happy it was not cold rain. The race was fast and people were in good spirits throughout the event.
The race organizers really put on an excellent race, and the course is fun moving through 6.2 hilly miles of the Arboretum. A giant loop was made through the course winding up and down the hills of the path which kept the race exciting and different throughout. The pavement on the course was wet but the snow stayed off of it during the race enabling runners to run at their own pace and enjoy the course.
Runners of all levels were able to brave the elements and enjoy the race. The organization of the race was excellent and the after party was full of fun, food, and even beer as runners huddled inside to stay warm. Awards were given to the top finishers for overall male and female winners. The top three age group finishers received wooden medals for their awards and every runner received a Dri-fit blue tech t-shirt with the race course on the back.
Ben Bocher, age 38, won the race overall with a time of 34:42. Rob Duncan, 36, finished second in a time of 35:35. Eric Hofmann, 32, placed third running 36:18. The overall female winner was Marisa Zahn, age 27, with an overall time of 41:26. Anna Dailey, 27, finished a close second in 41:38 and Mandy Kompanowski placed third in a time of 42:12.
This race is a must on any runner’s list. A 10k race is a fun and unique distance, and not always easy to find. The money for registration goes to a great cause in supporting the mission of the Arboretum. Parking is easy and accessible, there are plenty of bathrooms, and there is plenty of space inside to stay warm on a cold day. Registration is easy although there have been some complaints about the $10 charge for race day packet pickup. Otherwise, runners must pick up their packets ahead of time at Dick Pond’s Athletics, one of the sponsors of the race.
The setup of the Start/Finish Line was well organized, pacing times were displayed, and the miles and timing clocks were marked clearly on the race course. This race will be one I return to year after year as I fully enjoyed running a steady pace, taking in the snowy scene, and watching runners have an amazing time becoming Champions of the Trees…and Snow!