So we began Thanksgiving with a 9 AM 8K along the downtown stretch of the lakefront in 25 degree weather with a stiff breeze and a probable wind chill somewhere in the teens. Our intrepid band consisted of myself with my daughter, her great friend, myniece, and nephew. I have had some nice runs with my niece and the occasional Turkey trot with my daughter, but never everyone all together at the same time. My nephew was the wild card, a terrific high school athlete, but no previous race experience. My wife drove us to the park on the new east side, a neighborhood along the south bank of the Chicago side that didn't exist 10 years ago. She hung out having coffee with the mom of my daughter's friend while we warmed up and ran.
Kudos to Universal Sole who co-sponsored the race and kept their store open as a pre- and post-race warming station and sold quite a few cold weather items as a result. Not so much praise for race organizer F3 whose logistical support included mostly profuse apologies for wind conditions not permitting mile markers or clocks, but not figuring that they also could have posted volunteers with low tech mile signs along the way. Makes me a little nervous about their capabilities for the January 27 Polar half. But concerns are somewhat lessened by the race course being basically in my back yard so if anything goes wrong, I just go home.
Also memo to myself to remember to bring extra hats and gloves for teenager runners at future winter races. I had one extra pair of gloves that was shared and eventually lost by my niece and nephew.
About 800 runner took off heading south along the lakefront path in front of the Columbia Yacht Club down past the Monroe Harbor, the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, the south edge of McCormick Place and back again. My nephew paced us home in 43 and some change, followed by my niece at 45, me at 46, and my daughter and friend who chose to walk/run and chat the race course. It was my first race where the water station handed out water with a frozen ice top suggesting that pre-pouring may not have been the best strategy for that particular race. Post-race amenities included hot chocolate, hot apple cider, mini first aid kits, and friendly people at the store as we all trooped inside to stretch and use the bathroom. All in all a decent return to competition after a disappointing fall season and failed attempt to make it to the start line of the California International Marathon next week.
Also saw Matt Sag at the finish who finished in a snappy 38 minutes in his final Chicago race before his upcoming trip back home to Australia for the holidays. Next up, the 12/15 8K Rudolph Ramble which starts a short walk from the apartment with a gaggle of Loyola law faculty/staff who will be brunching chez moi after the race. Come one come all if you are in town.