Sunday, April 8 marked the 37th running (and walking!) of the Good Life Race in Oak Park. Even though temperatures stalked the freezing mark on a sunny spring morning, a cheerful community of runners and fitness walkers, and a few stroller-based co-pilots poured into the streets to run the men’s and women’s 5K races, Youth Mile, 5K Fitness Walk and three heats of the Junior Dash for the under-5 athletes.
Good Life, hosted by the Oak Park Runners Club, had its base of operations at Oak Park and River Forest High School, providing a welcome (and heated!) space for participants to prepare, visit sponsor booths and the Health & Fitness Expo and enjoy post-race refreshments.
Despite the forecasted unseasonably cold temperatures, registration overall was up for 2018, with over 1,540 registered participants, including a record number of youth mile runners.
In the women’s race, Jane Bareikis of Crestwood and the Fleet Feet Racing Team, took first place with a time of 17 minutes, 47 seconds, (5:44 per mile pace). The male overall winner for 2018 was Jeff Bailey of Villa Park and the Second City Track Club, finishing with a personal best time of 15:28 (4:59 per mile pace). The Masters (age 40 plus) winners were Angelica Guerrero for the women in 20:53, and Lars Juhl for the men in 16:08.
The winners in the Youth Mile event were 11-year-old Deo Campbell of Oak Park and 10-year-old Lizeth Montes of Chicago, posting winning times of 6:20.3 and 6:20.7 respectively, just a breath and .4 seconds apart.
The Junior Dash has multiple “heats” for the under-5 runners, and all who participate receive a medallion. (The dashes are not chip-timed.)
The Good Life Race is somewhat unique in that it has separate 5K races for women and men. Although there is no tracking data on this, it’s quite possible this separation allows and even encourages greater family participation, since parents / guardians may by turns run their own races and then “tag-team” the supervision of the next generation. The spacing of the Youth Mile and Junior Dash events allows everybody to be on hand to cheer the future speedsters.
The Good Life Race donates all net proceeds from the event to the Collaboration for Early Childhood and the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. Over the past five years, the race has generated over $100,000 in support of these organizations. With registration up in 2018, race officials expect to keep pace with previous years’ contributions.