It's shaping up to be quite a weekend of racing throughout the Chicago area. From the top-shelf events like the Buffalo Grove 10K and 5K and Foot Mechanics Half-Madness half-marathon in Batavia, both on Sunday, to the Park Forest Scenic 5-Miler and Oak Brook Half-Marathobn on Monday, there's a lot going on. Then you throw in a solid mix of fun but maybe a little less competitive community races and you have a Labor Day of love for thousands of runners.
For now, I'm focusing on Park Forest. Race director Bud James has helped re-invent this event from a national-level 10-miler into a strong area 5-miler. It's still on the CARA Circuit (Runners' Choice Series), and there's still prize money, so count on a good group of runners.
"The race should be about 500 or so," Bud told me via e-mail on Thursday. "We have a good field. Julius Rotich, who won last year is back as is Lucie Mays-Sulewski. We have Sammy Rotich joining Julius this year and Matt Thull is coming from Wisconsin along with a group of decent guys from that direction. It is some of the same guys who gave us depth in the Scenic 10! The course is fast and we have a good bit of the music we had before. It actually had a better ratio of music per mile last year than the Scenic 10 had. There is almost two miles on the Old Plank Trail, which resembles the forest preserve. We tried to give it a Scenic 10 look. Hopefully the weather will be good, too. I am looking at the entries later today to see if we have anyone in the race that we don't know about."
As for the other races, expect strong fields and great venues. I'll be back with more information as it trickles in.