Just when you thought you were getting the hang of it — bam! — the terrain changes and you have to refocus once again.
That is the story of the Red Eye 5k put on by the Joliet Park District; this cross country style race is in its second year as a 5k, (it used to be an 8k on the roads) and it is a fun, end-of-year challenge for anyone looking to give themselves a nice, hard effort for the fall.
The race starts off on grass and weaves its way around the Inwood Golf Course. Runners switch from grass, to blacktop, to grass, to cement over the course of the loop, conquering moguls, hard turns, and other bumps along the way, pulling the energy right out of your legs. By the time you get off the golf course and onto the cement, your legs are begging you to slow down, but with the finish on the Joliet Memorial Stadium’s track, you will sprint to the finish.
Pushing yourself for 3.1 miles is well worth it for many runners as they are treated to donuts and bloody marys at the finish line. The race is also the final event of the series of the JPDRun 3.1 series and anyone that completes all three events gets an extra special gift, this year being a long sleeve tee and a fleece headband.
For anyone looking to see what it would be like to get off the roads and race, this race is a great beginner style step to off-road running. The Joliet Park District staff has put together a very nice, well organized, and convenient event designed for anyone that just likes to go out, run hard, and accept a new challenge.