|Starting the 5K RUN! to End Homelessness|
I've lived in Chicago for six years and I've never been to Douglas Park. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever even heard of Douglas Park before I signed up for the 5K RUN! to End Homelessness. Which is actually too bad since it's a pretty nice park with little rolling hills, a pond, a swimming pool and some nice trails.
Getting to experience Douglas Park this morning for the first time by running through it reminded me of a few months ago when I got to experience Warren Park for the first time by running the PAAWR to Empower 5K.
So, the first thing I learned (or, more accurately, was reminded of) this morning, is that running really introduces you to cool new places that you otherwise would not have experienced. Even in a city that you've lived in for six years.
The only issue with this location is that it's not that easy to get to from Lincoln Square early on a Sunday morning. Buses and trains run very infrequently at this time and it took me more than an hour to get there (afterwards I found the 49 Western bus took me almost straight home from the park with no problems... I obviously should have used that to get there in the morning as well... but that's what I get for trying to plan something at six in the morning).
|This guy knows how to spectate|
This is when they announced that there were cash prizes for the first five male and female finishers. And these are some serious cash prizes. I won't go into all the specifics but prizes ranged from $3000 to the first male and female down to $250 to the fifth male and female... Aside from marathons, I don't know that I've ever been a part of a race giving away that much prize money. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results just to see what you have to run to get $250 around these parts.
Anyway, I'd say there were around 500 runners. The only person I knew there was John Garcia, and he was a little busy emceeing the race beforehand, though I did get to talk to him afterwards. Luckily, Declan let me know that Adam was going to be running this race, so when I spotted him in front of me about a mile in (we later discussed how a bald, bearded man is relatively easy to spot in a crowd) I caught up to him and we ran the rest of the race together. And as it turns out, this was his first 5K. After running and chatting with first-time 5Ker Victor yesterday during the Chinatown 5K, it was exciting to get to run with another first-time 5Ker today.
The course was a little awkwardly designed (two roundabout loops that followed trails, sidewalks and streets and got a little narrow at times) but it was still a well-coordinated run, with plenty of volunteers directing runners and lots of interesting scenery.
|The middle of the course crossed this little bridge|
Adam was going for a sub-27 minute finish and I was just trying not to injure myself. He definitely succeeded (looks like he got a 26:32) and my knee is feeling okay so far so hopefully I did too.
As with Victor yesterday, I have a feeling that, after this race, Adam is hooked on running too.
|Yes, I was wearing my Chinatown 5K shirt from yesterday. I'm a braggart.|
So, two days. Two finishes with first-time 5Kers. There's gotta be a first time runner at Burgers and Beer tomorrow right? I've gotta keep this streak alive!
Oh, and we got medal's for finishing. I was wearing mine when I got on the bus to go home and the bus driver asked me if I won the race. Obviously, I said I did. When you've run enough races, you know that the answer to the classic "Did you win?" question that people feel the need to ask runners is always "YES!"
And yes, I recommend the 5K RUN! to end Homelessness. Especially if you're capable of getting fifth place in a road race - if that's the case, registering for this 5K is a chance to cash in on your speedy legs.
|Those are some kind of green pea chips. They tasted okay... then I realized they're not even healthy anyway.|