Fallen Firefighters 5K – Bourbonnais, IL

Yesterday was the first annual Fallen Firefighters 5K in Bourbonnais, IL. 



The race venue was at Perry Farms on Route 45.  Several races are held at this location each year but this my first time on site.  Although Perry Farms is best know for the Children’s Museum, Exploration Station, there are also 4 miles of trails with small rolling hills. 


The trails start, just off of Route 45 and circle the grounds, even dipping all the way down for a view of the Kankakee River.  Super cool, very scenic, and a place that I would love to run any time of the year.  I’ll definitely be going back.

The Fallen Firefighters 5K was a first time event but I was told the course is the same as another local race, the AshleyCan Pediatric Cancer Foundation 5K.  So if you have ran that race, the course was supposedly the same.  I never really read up on a race.  If it’s in my backyard close to home, and I want to run, then I go.  I don’t worry about the course or cost or location.  Therefore I was taken off guard a few days prior to the race when somebody asked me about Challenge Hill.  It was clearly noted on any info that could possibly be read about the race if one were to read such info but news to me.  🙂

….. the 5k run ….. course is fast and flat; with the exception of one exciting hill in the middle of the run that will challenge you; this hill is called Challenge Hill.

This “hill” was relatively early in the course, before the half way mark, and it is marked with a switchback.  For those who haven’t hiked the Grand Canyon aren’t familiar with switchbacks, they were designed to help people transverse mountains.  If you go straight up a mountain you would die fall backward.  However, if you go from side to side in a switchback like fashion, then although it will take longer (and increases the distance traveled) you will make it safely to the top with burning quads

Example of a switchback below.  I took this photo in the Grand Canyon in 2005.  This is a small portion of the South Kaibab Trail, leading to/from the Colorado River.  This is the way I hiked out of the Canyon.

Grand Canyon Switchback_South Kaibab Trail 

Challenge Hill has a switchback.  Although nothing to the above degree but a switchback nonetheless.  Challenge Hill just about killed me and Aby said that it tough too.  We both felt as if this was the toughest course we have ran which says a lot with her just coming off of Cross Country season.  Plus she is a very good hill runner.  I can’t say the same.  My speed and endurance are still low from the injury and hills just zap my momentum and energy.  I was totally dead, could have walked faster.

Otherwise, the course was pretty normal.  Part on the slippery wet trails, part thru a subdivision.   Everyone said the course was long.  I do pretty well running the tangents and measured 3.22 miles on my watch.  It would have been longer for those who weren’t able to hit the tangents.  There was a water station at the half way mark.  No potties on course but there normally aren’t on a 5K route.  No chip timing but the race was very well organized and had lots of volunteers directing traffic and helping us up the hill.

The cost was low at $20 for pre-registered runners.  Included in the cost was a cotton tee, can cuzzy, 2 first aid kids & a few pens. 

Fallen Firefighters_2012_lootl

For those wondering about the Cat & Mouse game between Aby and I…..she won as if that is a surprise to anyone.  She beat me by 34 seconds!  Our times were a bit off because of the hill course length but she ran a 25:52 & I ran 26:26. That gave us 2nd & 3rd overall female placements.  The race was very generous with the awards, going 3 deep for overall male & female placements, then 3 deep in age groups.  They certainly didn’t skip on awards and seeing as there were only 73 finishers, a lot of people walked away smiling with some bling around their neck.  

Elizabeth S from the Kankakee River Running Club snapped this photo of Aby running away from me early in the first mile.  I managed to stay pretty close to her until the hill.


To be honest, I had no idea we were so close to the front.  It was a nice surprise to find out we were 2nd & 3rd.  The first place woman was in front of Aby by two minutes so we were nowhere near her but apparently in front of the other ladies. 

This is definitely one that we will run again if our schedule permits.  Lots of support on and off course, great awards, great post-race snacks, great atmosphere.

Thanks to the Bourbonnais Fire Department and the Kankakee River Running Club for putting together a great race!  See you next year!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com