- 3 miles/5K
- Road Race
This is a very low-key turkey trot. It's not chip-timed, there are no medals. That said, the race was $40 at last-minute prices, most of the funds go to charity, and it was beautifully organized.
I'm in town for Thanksgiving, staying in Des Plaines. My sole criterion for picking a race was proximity, and it worked in my favor. I registered online--the race used Eventbrite this year for tickets--and was not in town for early packet pickup.
On race day, I talked Dad and one of my brothers into joining me. We used google maps to get close, and then followed others to find parking. Arriving after 9, there was still plenty of time to pick up my packet (thank you to all the locals who picked theirs up early!), and for my Dad and brother to register.
The shirts are not fancy, with the race logo on the upper chest, and the three supported charities on the sleeve, with all the sponsors on the back. Some people hate shirts with sponsor logos, but I love this one because (1) this is a charity event, and (2) the number of supporting businesses demonstrates how involved the community is in this race. (I ran past some of them on the course!). Also, I love the heavy-weight long-sleeve cotton Gildan shirts and wear the few I own on a regular basis. I'm calling this a win, even though it isn't fancy.
Before the Turkey Trot proper there are several kids' races. The kids get a shirt and a medallion on a ribbon (it looked like it was plastic or rubber, I didn't get a close look). The announcers did it up for those races just like they did for the main race. After the kids' races, the announcer introduced a representative from each of the three charities that the race supports: Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, Ignite the Spirit, and SALUTE, Inc. All three are charities that help the police, firefighters, first responders, and military. There was a moment of silence for the three Chicago police officers lost in the line of duty (still fresh in most minds due to the very recent hospital shootings). The announcers also mentioned some groups walking/running in memory of individuals connected with the event.
About 7,000 runners and walkers did a 5k down part of the main road (something or another highway at that point), and through the neighborhoods of Edison Park. The race is dog and stroller and kid friendly, so starting in the back ensures you will bob and weave--if you are a fast runner, you need to start in the front. The neighborhoods had plenty of people out cheering, some with fires and brunch, as well as people watching from inside their houses. There were a lot of turkey inflatables.
The course had no aid stations, which was fine by me. (It's cold. I warmed up running, but wasn't hitting it hard anyway.) The finish line had bottled water and a tent with a variety of snacks (fruit, bagels, pastries, juice pouches for kids). Fleet Feet, one of the sponsors, had a small tent with a little display, but there was no merch or sales pitch. Nearby was a table to exchange shirts (in case you needed a different size) or buy extras.
Parking was plentiful in the neighborhoods, and we had zero wait to get in or out of the race area. The race started on time, had great announcers, live musicians and vocalist for the national anthem, and a fun family atmosphere. This is NOT a big to-do fancy race that people would travel just to attend--and that's part of why I loved it. I felt like I was just jumping in on the local tradition (22nd year!). Overall, I would absolutely do this race again.