Well, this Saturday I made a slight shift from being a Fathead, and instead became a Fat Ass. As in Fat Ass 5k.
The Fat Ass is a 5k run/street party that a few folks dreamed up nine years ago while sitting in a local pub. The gist of the idea was, “what kind of race could you do that even people who hate running would like?” Since then, it’s grown to around 3,000 runners and over 1,000 other “Friends of Fat Ass” entries. It’s a huge party that starts Friday night with bands, food, beer, cigars, etc. Not exactly the standard pre-race protocol.
I figured signing up would be a motivator to knock the cobwebs off the running gear from last year, as the Abe’s Army starts in a couple of weeks. I did a couple of short neighborhood runs to prep, so I’m ahead of last year’s efforts.
All the profits go to charity (hence the “Friends of Fat Ass” entries), and they’re hoping the cumulative take for the last nine years is going to tip over $1 million after they total up this year’s numbers!
It starts in front of the old Illinois state capitol, and winds around several blocks of the downtown area. It’s two laps to complete the 5k (that’s 3.1 miles in ‘merican). The streets are closed down for a couple of hours for the event. It looked like this as people started showing up a little after 9 for the 10:00am start.
As things get moving, it’s a pretty good crowd. This is about 3/4 through the first lap, so the crowd is already spread out. The real runners are long gone.
I managed to run (jog) most of the first lap, except for stopping to snap some pictures; then did run/walk splits the second lap. Besides the competitive runners, the not-so-competitive runners, and the walkers, this event has tons of people who are just there to have fun. You see all kinds of costumes, but these were some of my favorites, especially given this event’s moniker!:
Besides a lot of non-traditional running gear and runners, you see lots of other things not normally found in a race. Here’s one of the very first “aid stations”:
If you’re going to be pounding granola with marshmallows and chocolate chips to keep your energy up, you’re not going to want to wash it down with some nasty, chemical-laden sports drink, so Rolling Meadows, a local microbrewery, staffed another aid station:
I passed it up for actual water the first lap, then had a taste on the second. There were also giant marshmallows, ice cream, and people throwing donut holes available along the route. Oh yeah, and entertainment. There were probably 8 or 10 music groups playing at various spots around the circuit.
Plus, if you forgot to get a haircut before the big race, there was a station where you could pull over and take care of that!
Guess who else showed up — Elvis Himselvis! The 1975 version. Looks like maybe The King should’ve been lacing up and doing a little running himself.
There was a major traffic backup of runners in front of the shaved ice concession. You just had to run around the lines that formed in front of the various concessions on the route. There were tacos and corn dogs at other stands.
I was surprised to see that contrary to media reports, it turned out that the Illinois legislature actually was in session during the race:
Still no budget, though. Oh well.
Once you’re at the finish, there’s food, beer, munchies, fruit, etc. The one thing of which you don’t want to get between and an other runner is this:
At the end of a good run, the only thing you enjoy more than stopping running is that big bottle of cold water. After that, you hit the other tents. The meal for the participants was pretty good given the pork theme of the event. The chips and bun went in the trash, but the rest was very tasty.
As the run finishes and things move into the afternoon, the crowd starts to grow and the party is on.
The band is just starting to set up, but I’m not sticking around. The Wife and I have other activities for afternoon and evening.
I do stop by to get a picture with the mascot before the long walk back to the car.
Not a bad way to start your Saturday morning.
The Older Brother