Sellout crowd expected for 35th Annual Frank Lloyd Wright race in Oak Park

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

On Sunday, approximately 2,700 runners and walkers will take to the streets of Oak Park for the Park District of Oak Park's 35th Annual Frank Lloyd Wright Races. The races, which include a 5K Walk, a 5K Run and a 10K Run, filled to capacity in record time more than three weeks before Race Day. A limited number of Youth Mile slots are still available.

The races start and finish in front of the Oak Park and River Forest High School, with the 5K Run kicking off the festivities at 8 a.m. There will be temporary road closures along the Frank Lloyd Wright Race route on Sunday morning between approximately 7:30am and 9:30am. Residents are encouraged to review the course map at, and to allow to extra time for transportation during the morning.

Race results will be posted on

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east sider  

Posted: October 19th, 2011 7:09 PM

What I find interesting - and irritating - is how much of the "Frank Lloyd Wright" race is not run in the Frank Lloyd Wright district. Maybe the people there wouldn't like having the race cut off their driveway so that they are either locked in or locked out of their house. Of course, doing this on the east side isn't a problem. After all, what do you expect if you buy a house east of Ridgeland (as I have been told).

Another OP runner  

Posted: October 19th, 2011 4:40 PM

Didn't the park district more or less 'buy' this successful race from someone else's control just a few years back? Someone called it "business slick". Still, the FLW's a great run! Was shocked the first time someone brought up the fact of how very many people are just coming out and running with the mob "unregistered". Nyeah nyeah love it!


Posted: October 19th, 2011 1:19 PM

Not the case, at all. We can all accept that people are having tough times. Layoffs, foreclosures, rising costs at the grocery store,etc.,. It's a struggle for many Oak Park residents and their families. My concerns are that for some it has become beyond their means to participate in programs and activities availabe thru the Park District. I asked about the extent of outreach to our fellow Oak Parkers. For that, I got verbally smacked around by a few of you. So I'll give it rest. Enjoy the race.

The Best Things in Life Are Free? from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2011 5:14 AM

So, Bell, if the proceeds from the FLW Races go to offset other items in the park district budget (like, for example, swimming passes), is that enough for you? I'm struggling to understand your point except that apparently you think that everything should be free to everyone -- especially low income families -- and supported by the taxes we all pay to the park district (or some charity you want us all to donate to). If that's your point....well,then you, sir, truly are part of the problem.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 8:25 PM

How fitting is that the website's own resident boozehound is attempting to smear someone by resorting to a nasty and ugly comment? Same old Silly. She never fails to meet the lowest of expectations. How sad it must be for her family.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 6:55 PM

Bell, Best thing you can do right now is go back to your hole and shut your mouth. Have another drink.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 5:12 PM

The same question to you, Patricia. Should the Park District be able to demonstrate that they are addressing the needs of low-income families and residents? Do you know how much is spent annually to make sure that obligation is being met? I don't consider assisting those in need to be out of line with the mission. It's what Oak Park is all about. Inclusion. Regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, orientation or economic status. Pay to play will leave some standing on the sidelines.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 5:01 PM

Let's see the numbers, Cheese. How much and what percentage of total revenues does the Park District commit annually to fund scholarships and free swim and rink passes for low-income families and residents? That should settle the question regarding whether or not the Park District has addressed the issue of aiding those unable to afford to participate in programs and activities. They have a responsibility and the resources. Tax dollars go to non-profits all the time. Check the VOP budget.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:53 PM

Bell, honestly, if the revenue helps keep the Park District able to offer services without raising taxes, I'm satisfied. And before you say that I'm against charity, it's not that. I run charity events. It's just that I don't know that every run has to be about charity.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:50 PM

Well said Chris. Personally I'm really disappointed that I won't be there to run it. (on vacation)


Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:49 PM

You're missing the point, Chris. No one is saying that there are not positive benefits to be gained from participating in the event. Focus on the question as to whether or not the Park District provides sufficient opportunities for low income residents to participate in events like the Wright races. David claims they do but has yet to come up with any facts. Do you feel the district has an obligation to help out families who cannot afford to enroll their kids in programs and activities?

Cut the Cheese from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:49 PM

Bell, the main function of a governmental body is not donations to private charities. It's a non-profit. After reading your rantings, I checked the PD website, and they do in fact, partnering with the township, offer scholarships up to 50% of fees. If that's not enough for you, why not set up and fund your own charity to help make up that gap, since you seem to spend all your time figuring out how to spend our money. You have a lot of venom toward the PD. What did they ever do to you??

Chris Koertge from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:35 PM

The park district runs a race that 2700 participants consider a good enough thing to spend $35 and most of a Sunday morning on. For some this is the only race they'll enter this year, maybe ever. If this race inspires just one person to get off the couch and get in better shape to run it, isn't that a good thing? In a country facing a huge health and obesity issue it's really hard to find fault in encouraging people to exercise. I can't see how a well-organized run through our beautiful town is anything but a positive to this community and the people who live here.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 4:33 PM

Bell, it's absolutely free to run on the streets of Oak Pak 364.75 days a year. Or do you expect the community to buy your running shoes for you too? You are coming off as the greedy one here.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 3:05 PM

Please share those facts and figures. Exactly how much and what percentage of total revenues does the Park District dedicate annually as charitable giving for scholarships and swim passes? How many free entries are made available to residents who cannot afford to participate in the Wright races? Have you got those numbers handy,David? Hard to figure out what you mean by "lots". Please ignore the idiotic suggestion to run in the Wright races unregistered. That's not fair or a solution.

David Kindler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 2:28 PM

The Park District of Oak Park provides lots of scholarships for programs people can not afford to participate in otherwise. Swim passes tend to be one of the more popular.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 2:23 PM

The point is that the Oak Park Park District does not have demonstratable record of community giving. I'm sure there are families who simply cannot afford to pay the fees required to participate in youth programs and activities. Check the catalog. It ain't cheap. A swim pass is simply beyond the means of some parents who are struggling to keep their homes from foreclosure and put food on the table. That's obviously not a concern for the bigot who's defending the Park District's greedy policies.

Bah Humbug  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 2:06 PM

Phil, Sorry for the post was meant to be an anti-Bell-sentiment. I was not saying that we should check ID's of people in our parks. I was trying to say that money earned from park district events is a form of charitable giving, back to the community. If the Park District had no money, there would be no park district. Again, sorry for the confusion.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 1:46 PM

Bell, Why dont you get a pair a running shoes, lace em up and run the race. Dont pay anything. Just run on your own. Donate your would be application fee to some charity. You havent run anything except running to a bar in the last 30 yrs. I guess biking is a close second.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 1:38 PM

Yeah, how fun it would be to check IDs of "basketball players" to make sure they live in OP. And the tot lots, too. It is important for kids to know who is allowed to play in a park and who isn't. I know that when I go to Milennium Park, they make sure I live in Chicago. Sorry, Bah, you'll have to move farther from Austin to avoid black people. Those same "basketball players" trick or treat in the OP, too. Brace yourself.

Bah Humbug  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 1:27 PM

another way to think about the money raised is that the money goes back to the park district, which then offers many amenities without charge. Well except to taxpayers. Walk by Longfellow Park and see all the basketball players, and the cars parked on the street with city stickers from all over...few from OP. Same thing with the new tot lot, cars parked on Cuyler on a warm summer evening and kids playing, parents watching, the cars are not from OP.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 12:34 PM

Of course there are some among us who don't want to bothered thinking about those less fortunate. No time for charity. Just gotta run! But do not mistake for minute that the Oak Park Park District offers this event for any other reason than to raise money for itself. Our school districts and other social agencies do great work to benefit the needy and deserve to be thanked. The Wright races are a cash cow. Plain and simple. There is very little overhead thanks to sponsors and volunteers. Greedy!

Oak Park Parks are Doing Just Fine, Thanks Bell from OP  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 12:16 PM

@Bell: Yup, the parks are open to (and extensively used by) all. Just imagine if the Parks Dist. checked ID and/or charged admission for everyone using who isn't an OPer. Maybe then OPers could have free PDist services. Sadly, quality programs -- including the Wright Races -- cost money. And OP Parks do a great job trying to keep things affordable.

Charity Not Only Reason to Run from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 12:11 PM

The FLW Races are a terrific Oak Park event. As a dedicated runner (and someone who gives generously to local charities as well), I'm actually glad that they haven't become all about charities. So many runs these days have lost any sense of sport. The FLW Races are about the community -- and I think that's enough. The OPPD does a great job, and should be commended, not chided for not doing more. See you on Sunday!!


Posted: October 18th, 2011 11:39 AM

Oh Yeah! Let's be grateful that the Park District allow residents to use the land we own. It's bogus that free memberships are donated to needy residents. Most community runs are conducted to raise awareness and funds for local charities. The Wright races are a pure money grab. Get your facts straight, Silly.

east sider  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 9:22 AM

I'm just hoping that the volunteers who direct traffic away from the race get a little bit of training. In the past I've been directed from one closed road to another closed road.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 9:08 AM

Glad to see Bell in his upbeat positive mood. Parks all over Oak Park are FREE to all. The OP PD contributes through out the year by donating free memberships and the like to organizations that raise funds with silent auctions items or raffles.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 8:54 AM

Glad to hear you enjoyed the races, Chris. You are aware that participants in the Chicago Marathon have helped to raise many millions for area charities. Same cannot be said for the Wright races. We just learned that our Oak Park Food Pantry is being forced to cut back. It would be most appropriate if the Park District officials thought to aid a charity or provide assistance to local families who can't afford swim lessons, skating passes or pre-school.

Chris Koertge from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 8:40 AM

The Frank Lloyd Wright Races are extremely special to me because the 2009 5k was my first organized race. For me the newly felt rush of running competitively and with so many cheering along the route planted a seed that grew into running the 2011 Chicago Marathon. I didn't sign up for FLW this year due to the time commitments training for the marathon required and I'm sort of sad I didn't. What a wonderful hometown event. For anyone who has considered it, sign up and give it a try next year. Even if you walk the course your mind and body will thank you for it, but my guess is that if you commit to the run and put some work in you will surprise yourself with what you are capable of. You might just get hooked. If you have the time and the weather cooperates, go out and cheer the runners on. They feed off of the energy from the crowd. It really means a lot to them.


Posted: October 18th, 2011 8:07 AM

This event is special in many ways but sadly not a penny of any money raised goes to aid a local charity or is even used to help offset costs for low income residents who cannot afford to pay for recreational opportunities, including participating in the Wright races. They say you gotta pay to play in Oak Park. It would nice if the Park District used a portion of the race revenue to help out residents during these tough times but that doesn't fit with the Master Plan.

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