Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Canal Connection XXXI

This weekend is our area's premier running event. It is a 10k that is a point to point run, mostly downhill and flat with beautiful scenery. If you run and/or train for one race a year, this should be the one.

We have been a sponsor for many years in a row. I am not sure how many, but here is my treasured collection of sponsor mugs that I have accumulated over the years. Coincidentally, they just happen to made by our chef, Chris's father Joe Plankenhorn of Clark Street Studio. Sadly, a few have been lost or broken.

This race will always hold a dear spot in my heart for many reasons. It was the very first race I ever ran. After one very busy Saturday night, the very first year we were open, I was in my mid 20's. I must have looked very haggard. One of my friends pointed this out to me and told me I needed to do something for myself besides work.  
He challenged me to run the Canal Connection.

Never having run a race before, I had only a month to get ready. At first, 2 blocks was difficult. When race day came, the friend never showed up and I finished my first race. This race was such a good first experience that I went on to run hundreds over the years including 10 marathons. This was the event that got me hooked. 

The course is almost all flat or downhill. The surface is mostly soft cinders. Temperatures are usually perfect for running. The scenery is beautiful, historic, peaceful and serene. Because a bus will shuttle you to the start line in La Salle, the run back to Utica is mostly West to East. On most years, this means the wind is at your back. The race is very organized with lots and lots of goodies and prizes at the end. We have been proud to be a part of it for so many years. Thank You for all those years Starved Rock Runners and especially Jon Bastuck.

The race does bring many, many people in from outside of the area. Please remember and don't fill up too much at the race. Stop by and have a healthy lunch at the Uptown, and if you are not too beat it is a great time for that fall hike at Starved Rock. A beautiful autumn afternoon by any measure. It is probably my favorite race anywhere.

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