Sunday, June 2nd 2013 was a rainy, gloomy morning in Lake County but Highland Park was filled with thousands of smiling, happy people. It was race day! The City of Highland Park hosted their 35th annual North Shore ½ Marathon and 5k, organized by RAM Racing. I have heard great things about this race for years but this was the first time I was able to participate in the ½ marathon.
That morning I woke up early and took the easy drive to downtown Highland Park. The city provided great signage and maps to make sure the free parking was plentiful. After parking I made my way to the starting point where there was music playing to get everyone pumped up. There were approximately 3000 runners and probably as many spectators and volunteers. This race was quite the production! I was thrilled to see the great organization done ahead of time for the corral line ups and was even happier to see the number of port of pottys available before the race! Highland Park definitely knows what they are doing!
The 5k race which had almost 700 runners alone began at 6:30am. The ½ marathon began at 6:50am with the elite runners (who I believe finished a full hour before me!). The corrals were then released in three minute waves to offer a safe, fast and fun course for everyone. The course itself was mainly along the scenic residential streets of Highland Park where we had up close and personal viewing of the AMAZING houses along Sheridan Road and surrounding streets. The course was relatively flat with the exception of “Park Avenue Hill” at mile 7 which nearly sent me over the edge. There were spectators along the entire race course cheering us on with signs, cowbells and high fives which made the race even better! The last few miles of the race brought us right along Lake Michigan and into Fort Sheridan where we had a chance to see the beautiful and historic Army training grounds. What a gorgeous view, despite the rain and clouds.
After the 13.1 miles, I thankfully crossed the finish line with my arms held high and a soaking wet smile on my face. Then I was handed a finishers medal, lunch tote and more post race goodies. Thanks to the City of Highland Park for a very successful and enjoyable race! I look forward to doing it again next year! Insert self portrait with medal or picture of medal/ tshirt and race bib
For anyone looking to get out there for a run, I would recommend the Run for Boston 5K which is on 6/15 at Independence Grove in Libertyville. Independence Grove is a beautiful forest preserve facility in Lake County that offers trails, lakes, boat rentals, bike rentals and a spectacular playground for the kids. My first race was at Independence Grove and I can’t wait to run there again!