Race Recap: Sundowner 5k


“It is just a great event.”

That is the response you get when you talk to people about why they go to the Sundowner 5k year after year. It is a simple answer but it seems to be that it is the answer given because they can’t name one specific thing that they like about the event.

The race is put on by the Joliet Park District- the second race in the run3 series- on a Thursday night in July. People that come back year after year know this to be annually one of the hottest Thursday nights of the summer. Heck, this year, even the inflatable start structure decided it wanted to take a break right before the start of the race. In addition to the heat, the course is not one that can be classified as “flat and fast.” Yet, they still come back. Maybe it is because people like to suffer together.

Or, maybe it is because the event is able to create a great sense of community. There are plenty of volunteers around they seem to know everyone that is running. You have to park in a lot down the street and take the shuttle to the race site, so you get to meet your fellow runners before and after the race. The kids races take place before the 5k starts, so you get a chance to cheer on the future 5k-ers. Finally – the part that really brings everyone together and a big reason why people come back – is the post race party, complete with a spread of burgers, chicken, hotdogs, chips, beer, frozen yogurt, and cookies.

The Sundowner 5k is more than a Thursday night race. It is more like a summer block party with a 5k in the middle. Put it on your schedule for next year. The sweat from your hands will make the burger taste that much better.

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Jonathan couldn’t run a mile before his sophomore year in high school but went on to run at Hope College. Now, he runs with the Fast Track Racing Team and races in almost 30 races a year, still managing to run some PRs. He couldn’t win a 100 meter sprint if his life depended on it, but still has a pretty good kick at the end of a 10k. He is the Local Advertiser/Sales employee on Chicago Athlete's staff, and also volunteers as an Assistant XC Coach at Elk Grove High School and has done that for the past 11 years.