Today I experienced the first annual Home Team Charity Run 10K in Chicago. The event brought together 3 of Chicago’s professional sports teams to raise money for the local charities that each individual team already has relationships with. A portion of the $60 sign-up fee ($15) was divided equally between all three teams charities. During sign up, you were asked to select a team to support by selecting a particular race shirt design. You could select from the White Sox (my choice), the Bulls or the Blackhawks and your shirt would reflect that team in color and in lettering on the sleeve. All three shirts had the same logo on the front and white lettering on the sleeve. Besides being a White Sox fan I liked the fact that the Sox shirt was black, fairly unusual for a race shirt, while the Bulls and Blackhawks shirts were both the same red. I did notice while on the course that there was a much greater amount of Sox fans than the other two teams.
You may be wondering why they left out the Cubs. Well, it’s because the start and finish of the involved the stadiums were the three participating teams play their home games.
We started off at the United Center at 8am, in 41 degree windy weather, and finished at US Cellular field in 50 degree windy weather. It’s sounds a bit unpleasant but it was actually very nice once we got going and as long as you kept a few layers on the weather was unnoticeable. We were lucky enough to dodge the predicted rain, which held off until about 30 minutes after we finished the race.
The race was fairly small with just over 2000 entries that showed up and they handed out the bibs based on last name instead of by sign up date. A bit unusual but it was kind of fun looking at peoples numbers and truing to guess their last name ( the guy wearing number 9, I guessed had a last name like Aaron). The start was also pretty loose with people just lining up wherever they wanted to at the start. One nice surprise was we were treated to a rousing rendition of the national anthem, sung by none other than Jim Cornelison, the gentleman who sings the anthem at every Hawks home game.
With such a small number of runners, there was not much going on along the route except a few water stations, an aid station, one Mariachi band and one bag piper. While on that subject, thank you to all the volunteers who came out to provide the water and some support. It was pretty early on a Sunday for Chicago residents to be up and about in the neighborhoods.
The race went pretty quick winding through the city streets, some of which were in bad shape from the nasty Chicago winter we had this year. There was one long stretch of almost half the race down Loomis towards 35th. Once we turned onto 35th we could see US Cellular less than a mile away so we knew we were almost home. The streets were wide enough that passing was not a problem and there were no four or five wide groups to deal with.
At the finish in the north parking lot of US Cellular we were treated to a band, a free beer and a chance to have our picture taken with the Sox World Series trophy or the Bulls NBA Championship trophy. Southpaw, the Sox mascot, and Benny the Bull were also on hand for picture opportunities.
I ran the race with my sister-in-law Mary, who is also a middle-aged runner, sorry Mar. She is a bit younger than me and a bit faster, so although I PR’d today, she beat me by about 30 seconds.
All in all it was a very pleasant way to start a Sunday and it was nice to be out there with all the other Chicago sports fans having fun and supporting a good cause. I look forward to doing it again next year.