|Just me and my media team buds after last year's race.|
The Strike Out ALS 5K trades the typical Chicago 5K backdrop—the lakefront, the park, the city streets—for one of the ballpark variety with a course that starts outside U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, and finishes inside with a loop around the warning track (or at least that's how the course flowed in 2012 and 2013, but more to come on that.) And as its name would imply, it’s a race that sticks with the baseball theme from its location to its beneficiary. The 5K serves as a fundraiser for the Les Turner ALS Foundation, which is “Chicago’s leader in research, patient care, and education about ALS,” according to its website. ALS, short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Gehrig was one of the most iconic and respected players in baseball who unfortunately had to quit the game far too soon.
Maybe it’s because I can’t refuse a good 5K or maybe it’s because I’m a baseball fan (maybe not a Jimmy-Fallon-in-Fever-Pitch superfan, but I have enough books on the Cubs, Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers to probably seem crazy.) Either way, this race is hard for me to resist. I think the only reason I missed it its first year—the race turns five in 2014—is because I had just completed Ironman No. 2 days before and running was the last thing on my mind. I plodded my way through it in 2011 as my first run post-stress fracture. I shuffled through it in 2012 when my leg cramped up. I accidentally cut about a quarter mile off the course last year—I swear I just followed who I saw in front of me—when I missed a straightaway and found myself hitting the warning track from center field. And I’m already signed up for this year’s event on Tuesday, July 15, which promises to be even better than it’s been in the past.
|Runners (aka ants since they're so small here) sprint around|
the warning track at U.S. Cellular Field.
Now here's where it gets good if you a. want to run on Tuesday, July 15 b. live in the Chicago area (or plan to be in Chicago on the 15th) or c. want to see what the Strike Out ALS 5K is all about. Thanks to our friends at the Les Turner ALS Foundation, we have a race entry that we're giving away. Yep, that's right. If you haven't already signed up for this race, you could save yourself the $40 registration fee--though perhaps you might consider donating some of what you saved to the organization--and run what's a personal favorite, especially as far as 5Ks go (Ravenswood would be another.)
Simply comment on this post, saying that you'd like to be entered in the giveaway by 11:59 p.m. CST on Thursday, July 10. We'll draw one name and announce the winner--plus tell you offline how to get signed up.
Why so early for a Tuesday race? Because we want to make sure you don't miss the online registration period, which ends at noon on Friday, and have a chance to pick up your packet on Sunday, July 13, if you don't want to wait until race day.
For more details on the event or to make a donation, check out strikeoutals.org. And comment below if you want to run in 10 days!