Englewood 5K

Englewood 5K

Englewood 5K

( 2 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Chicago,
    United States
  • November
  • 3 miles/5K
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


Chicago, Illinois, United States
51 60
"Inaugural Englewood 5K"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Tom 's thoughts:

Englewood is a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago that has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous, violent neighborhoods in the city.... So it's probably not the first place that comes to mind when people think about where they would want to run a 5K.... but when a friend of mine told me that the inaugural Englewood 5K was going to be held on November 2nd, I jumped at the chance to sign up for it.

There are a number of reasons for this:

Nothing is ever as bad as it's portrayed by the media. Englewood does have its share of problems, but so do a lot of other places, and pretending like the area between 75th Street and Garfield on the south side is some type of hotbed of criminal activity that must always be avoided at all costs lest something terrible happens to you does a big disservice to the thousands of good hard working people who live there and are doing their best to make an honest living.
I can't claim to have the same experiences as some of the residents in Englewood, but I did grow up on the south side and I spent a fair bit of my childhood living in poverty or near poverty. My mom was a single parent who spent a number of sleepless nights trying to figure out how she would make ends meet for us financially, and when I was in high school, I knew a lot of people who went off to join gangs and sell drugs. I learned a lot from those experiences and even though my life is a lot different now than it was then (thanks to a combination of hard work and luck), I'll still always be more than happy to do what I can to help inspire residents of any south side community to live healthier lifestyles and take pride in their neighborhoods.
When races or other events like this do well, it shows the residents of neighborhoods like Englewood that people from around the city and surrounding areas care about them and their neighborhood and want to do their part to be supportive. Being proud of where you live and knowing that you're part of a bigger community with friends everywhere who care about you and will come out of the woodwork to support you will help you to feel empowered to improve not only your own life but the lives of others around you as well.
Now onto the race itself. The Englewood 5K was organized by Forever Fitness Chicago, LLC which is an organization that embraces nutrition and fitness, while educating individuals on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The theme of this year's race was "Ditch the Weight & Guns" and its purpose is to promote nutrition, fitness, and nonviolence throughout Chicago (with a specific focus on the Greater Englewood community). The idea being that poor health choices throughout a community ultimately contribute to social disorganization and that through events like this one, community members can learn about the benefits of making healthier choices and be inspired to live healthier lifestyles, which will ultimately improve the community as a whole. It makes a lot of sense.

Like I said, this was the inaugural year for the Englewood 5K..... but you wouldn't know that from the way the race was organized. The course, along with the pre and post race activities, volunteers, goodie bags, etc... were all really well thought out.

The course started and ended at Ogden Park, which is a nice open area with wooded edges that's centrally located in Englewood. Packet pickup was available on race day only but it started at 8am and the race itself didn't start until 10 so there was plenty of time for everyone to arrive and get their packets. It was a little after 9 when I got there and the race organizers had just run out of t-shirts, but I was able to write down my contact information and within two days I exchanged a couple emails with Ariana Taylor from Forever Fitness who let me know that she would be mailing my shirt to me. Believe it or not but the fact that the race organizers ran out of t-shirts is actually good news. Close to 1000 people came out for the race which was a lot bigger of a turnout than I think anyone expected.

There was a fun atmosphere leading up to the start of the race and about 20 minutes before it started, there were a few announcements and a prayer, and then at a couple minutes before 10, all of the runners made their way over to the start line.

The course was flat and fast and for the most part was shaped like a giant rectangle - it headed south down Racine, for about a mile, before heading west for a few blocks and then north on Loomis past the other side of Ogden Park... Then it turned east onto 64th street and headed down another half mile or so before turning south again and heading back towards the the Ogden Park entrance at 65th and Racine. There was a small water tables at the one mile marker and a bigger one at the two mile marker and both had plenty of volunteers on hand to make sure that all of the runners were taken care of.... There was also plenty of crowd support - cheerleaders and football players from the local high schools along with some volunteers were standing at various points along the course cheering the runners on and offering high fives and there were also plenty of local residents who stood along the course or looked out their front windows to say good morning and wave to the runners. I heard more than a few people who were watching the race make comments about how they wanted to come out and run it next year.

A big crowd of volunteers and runners stood at the finish line congratulating people and welcoming them. There were also medals for the first 350 finishers (which was pretty cool since finishers medals are not always common in neighborhood 5Ks) and goody bags handed out at the finish line that contained sports drinks, Kind bars, ads for some of the local businesses.

To give a good understanding of how important this race was, not just to Englewood but to the city of Chicago as a whole, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago also came out to run it. Before the race, he said hello to all of the participants and volunteers and took pictures with anyone who wanted one and then after he crossed the finish line, he hung out and gave high fives to everyone who finished after he did.

Overall, I thought this was a great race. I'm not sure if Forever Fitness plans to make this an annual event or not but I'm hoping that they do because I would love to come out and run it again next year.

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