I was so excited when I heard my hometown race was coming back for 2016.
The Chase 5k had been put on by the Des Plaines Park District for a couple of years — in conjunction with the Taste of Des Plaines Festival — but for one reason or another, I had never been able to participate. Saturday was the first year back for the race after a three year hiatus and I knew I was going to run it this year.
It was going to be perfect. I knew the course — I run in that area all the time — and, the best part was, I wouldn’t even have to drive to the start line. The start was less than two miles from my apartment and since I was able to pick up my race bib beforehand, I could just run straight there, arrive twenty minutes before the start, get in a good stretch, and be ready to go.
Like many community races, the atmosphere at the start was jovial and loose. Everyone was out there to enjoy the morning and get in a nice run. The course was nice and flat, with plenty of long, straight sections to help keep your speed.
The course support at the race was what really made the morning stand out. The course ran through a residential area with a lot of intersections, so recruiting course marshals must have been a big undertaking. Not only were there plenty of people on the course, but there seemed to be three marshals per intersection, all of them cheering you on as you went by. With so many races and volunteer opportunities nowadays, it is hard for organizers to get enough volunteers on race day, but the person in charge of that at The Chase knocked it out of the park. It helped to make what could have been a typical community race that much more exciting.
Quick side note: If you are a masters runner looking for a race where you can see how you stack up with some faster folks in your age group, check out the results from this race. Some of the 40+ folks at this race can really fly.