Race Review: BTN 10K and 5K

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After two years, the BTN 10k and 5k returns to Soldier Field for all college football aficionados. The race offered both in person race and a virtual option for those who were not able to come back to in person events. This race had been a favorite for college football enthusiasts and the like. This is one of the few races where you get to pick your race school-specific shirt. The shirt designs are always fun and colored coded to represent each school. This is one of the only races where wearing your race shirt is expected on the course. I personally like to see people wearing their shirts proudly as they represent their alma mater. This year’s Grand Marshall was Eric Decker. This is a race like no other, runners and walkers are welcome to participate or compete for cash prizes.

Another unique aspect of this race is its charity partners. The Big Ten Network supported three great charities this year including ALIVE Rescue, Positive Coaching Alliance, and Special Olympics Chicago. People can support these agencies by donating directly to the BTN Big 10k Charites during the registration.

Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day for running, with clear blue skies, a nice breeze, and warm temps in the high 60’s. The 10K had an early start right at 7am and the 5k started promptly at 8:15am. The race offered start corrals to accommodate runners’ various paces which I can appreciate. I recommend getting there early to make sure you get to your corral. The racecourse runs south from Soldier Field on the gorgeous but narrowed route along Chicago’s iconic lakefront. The first few miles can be crowded so plan accordingly and be patient. There were two aid stations on the 10K route fully stocked with water and Gatorade. Thank you to all the volunteers for making this race possible.

Without a doubt one of the best parts of this race is its one-of-a-kind post-race celebration. The BTN Big 10K Post-Race Tailgate was at Soldier Field immediately following the finish of the 10K and 5K events. It featured music, food and beverages, and games like a football toss, corn hole, and water slide. And of course, the mascots and cheerleaders are there to entrained and put a show for everyone.  It was so much fun. It was comforting to see people gathering, laughing, and enjoying the post-race activities. All finishers received a medal and free race photo downloads.

Congratulations to all finishers!

The female winners for the 10K

1.     Laura Gann  39:01

2.     Hannah Nelson 40:18

3.     Mandy Kompanowski 40:26

The Male winners for the 10k:

1.     Jonathan Klaiber  31:33

2.     Johnny Binzak 31:50

3.     Jacob Young 32:24

The female 5K winners:

1.     Lexi Arambulo 19:33

2.     Celestine Arambulo 20:41

3.     Alison Wood 20:52

The 5k Male Winners:

1.     Patrick Letz 16:29

2.     Felix Boeing 16:34

3.     Luke Jones 17:32

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Erika has been an endurance athlete for over 20 years. She fell in love with running in her 20’s in graduate school, working full time and being a single mother. Running became time for reflection. She has run over 30 marathons and countless triathlons; qualified for 70.3 World championships. To qualify for Kona is her next goal! She loves being a mom to a wonderful young lady and a fur puppy (cocker spaniel). Travel and exploring new places to train around the world is a passion. She is a licensed clinical counselor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma. She spent 15 years in academia and has recently taken a role as a clinical director to focus on her clinical work. Erika believes in the therapeutic benefits of endurance training for people who struggle with mental health illness and stress. She is patiently waiting until we can all travel and race safely again, until then she recommends staying active, healthy. and consistent.

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