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Memorial Day Weekend Running - Ridge Run Challenge

Runners lined up at the starting line for the Ridge Run 10K
As I said in my last post, this past weekend included Memorial Day and the celebration was all about freedom. After running the Soldier Field 10 Mile on Saturday and resting on Sunday I got up early again on Monday to head down to south Chicago for the Ridge Run Challenge.

The Ridge Run is a race in Beverly that has been around for nearly four decades but that I just found out about last year. And after loving it last year (despite dealing with an injury) I couldn't pass it up this year (now that I'm not dealing with an injury). Basically, it's a normal race day with two separate distances: a 10K and a 5K. The unique thing here is that the races are spaced out enough so that you can do both of them. And they actually have a name for doing both of them: the Ridge Run Challenge.

On Saturday morning, Fuzzy and Erica picked me up at 6:00 and we headed to Beverly. Turns out there's no traffic at that time so we actually got there pretty early and had some time to walk around after packet pick-up but before the race started. This also gave us time to debate whether we should wear both race bibs for both races or just the appropriate bib for each race (as a Ridge Run Challenger you get a bib for each race - with a fancy gold sticker on it too!). We settled on just wearing one bib per race to make sure our times didn't somehow get screwed up. Not sure if this mattered or not.


The 10K kicked off on time at 8am down the fancy streets of Beverly. It was a pretty warm morning and there were a lot of residents out with their sprinklers or hoses spraying the street (thank you!). Also, this guy figured it was too hot for shoes:
Minimalist shoes are too much for this guy running the Ridge Run
The course weaves its way through some pretty nice neighborhoods (and up a few hills). A lot of the houses in Beverly are pretty incredible so it's a scenic course to run through - and especially nice to get to enjoy some warm weather on a relatively well-shaded course.
Finishers of the Ridge Run 10K
After finishing the 10K I was a lot more tired than I expected to be. I met up with Erica at the finish line, got a sandwich from the post-race food area and went to find some shade to stretch in. And then at 9:30 it was time to start again with the 5K. This race is about twice as big as the 10K (666 finishers vs. 1302) and could definitely benefit from some pace groups or at least signs helping people place themselves in the starting chute.
The starting line for the Ridge Run 5K
It was about 80 degrees by 9:30 and my Texan ancestors would be embarrassed that I found this hot, but I did and it definitely slowed my pace down a lot. Still, the neighborhood sprinklers were still going and there was enough shade to keep it from being too bad. Also, did I mention it's a beautiful neighborhood?

I had more fun at this Ridge Run Challenge than I did last year - based partly on the lack of rain (it rained a lot during last year's), partly on the company of Fuzzy and Erica and partly on not having an IT-band injury to deal with. So, overall it was a super fun day of running and if you haven't made it down for the Ridge Run Challenge yet, I definitely recommend it.

I even remembered to get my Challenge medal this year (last year I didn't know where to claim it but they kindly mailed it to me after reading my blog post about it).

So here is a photo of two champions (one is an Iron Man and one is not - hint: the one wearing the hat IS).
Zach and Fuzzy, Challenge Medal Winners
Ridge Run Challengers (Photo from Fuzzyco)

And here's my (super cute) parting shot:
Erica waves to Fuzzy as he crosses the 10K finish line

Comments

  1. I did the challenge, too! We signed up last minute (so no gold badge) but they said you needed to wear only one bib. I felt awful in the 10K (blaming heat after this winter) but surprisingly good in 5K. You never know what you are going to get. I loved the local vibe of this race!

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