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Title:Winter Challenge Cross Country III
Date:Sunday January 12th, 2020
Author:Bill Thom
Report:
Winter Challenge Cross Country III
[logo:Winter Challenge Cross Country]
Cross Country and Gratuitous Six-Hour Runs!

Winter Challenge Cross Country III was held Sunday January 12, 2020 within the tree-lined forest preserve groves of Caldwell Woods and Bunker Hill, Chicago/Niles, Illinois. Upon our sunrise arrival at race site, a majestic coyote was sniffing around the entrance of the warming shelter. This coyote must've caught a glimpse of race shirts, realized it's "year of the fox," then quietly departed into the mist. Of 93 preregistered participants, 84 braved the conditions to take on this year's challenge. 20 started our Gratuitous 6-Hour Run, 35 raced WC3 15-Km, 26 opted for WC3 5-Km. Our volunteer team was superbly staffed by community runner's Jeni Goodwin, Paula Donato, Boris Tannenbaum, and Riis Park Striders' Fearless Leader Chris Precht.

Weather statistics for January 12, 2020...
Air temperature: minimum 23F, mean 27.4F, maximum 31F.
Wind speed MPH: mean 6.5, maximum sustained 16 SE, maximum gust 22 S.
Snow depth: 2.0 inch accumulation.
Twilight start: 6:46 am. Sunrise: 7:17 am. Sunset: 4:40 pm. Twilight end: 5:11 pm.

Snow had begun its accumulation at noon on Saturday (race eve), just as we began setting up our racecourse. By Sunday morning snow had accumulated to a depth of 2 inches throughout the forest groves. This was sure to affect and slow all runners, as it had fallen over large standing pools of recent rainfall. In an effort to avoid those pools we altered stretches of the racecourse seeking higher ground. We marked the way with knee-level colored-wire-flagging. In the direction of running... keep blue flags on your right and pink flags on your left. Temperatures dropped to 21F overnight, which firmed/iced the groves, but as race day progressed the racecourse softened into packed snow stretches with occasional spots of mud and slush.

At 8:09 am, Gratuitous 6-Hour runners began repeating laps of our five kilometer cross country loop. Their mission... cover as much distance as possible in the span of six hours. They could continue running along the 5k "Big Loop," then as six hours ticked down-to-zero, switch to our quarter-mile "Little Loop" and continue right up to the 2:09 pm air-horn signal.

Meanwhile traditional-distance runners arrived for check-in and their race start. At 9:39 am, co-RD Michelle Thom gave the commands "To your mark..." then blasted the air-horn, starting events WC3 15-Km and WC3 5-Km. Soon after, the groves of Caldwell Woods / Bunker Hill were churning with variable-speed runners of Winter Challenge Cross Country III!

11:45 am... while Gratuitous 6-Hour runners pursued evermore mileage, our traditional distance runners were completing their races. An awards ceremony / pizza party was held in the warming-shelter building atop the hill near our start/finish area. Presented to top-performing runners in both traditional distance events... Gold, Silver, Bronze medals, along with engraved pint-glasses for top-three "Age Group Podium Achievers" of WC3 15-Km. Engraved pint-glasses were earned by "Team Podium Achievers" for both distances as well!

Winter Challenge Cross Country 5-Km...
20-Under Female Achievers:
1st) Elise Heneghan
2nd) Kimmy Chuang
20-Under Male Achievers:
1st) Luis Gomez
2nd) Vincente Guereca
3rd) George Gauthier

Open Female Achievers (All Ages):
1st) Tessa Sinnige
2nd) Nana Rodriguez
3rd) Abbe Burke
Open Male Achievers (All Ages):
1st) Michael Cramarosso
2nd) Uriel Delgado
3rd) Anthony Schiller
Masters Female Achievers (40 - Over):
1st) Nicole Saubert
2nd) Katie Cibulsky
3rd) Melissa Bleichman
Masters Male Achievers (40 - Over):
1st) Jerry Brennan
2nd) Richard Beddome
3rd) Tom Kohler
3-Runner Team Podium Achievers (combined time):
1st Male) Sweet Lou's Squad - 1:15:10.9: Luis Gomez, Uriel Delgado, Anthony Schiller
1st Mixed) ERC Turtles - 1:31:43.0: Jerry Brennan, Tessa Sinnige, Nicole Saubert

Winter Challenge Cross Country 15-Km...
Open Female Achievers (All Ages):
1st) Laura Lackner
2nd) Mandi Florip
3rd) Rachel Weyers

Open Male Achievers (All Ages):
1st) James Weissensel
2nd) Steven Bugarin
3rd) Eric Hofmann
Masters Female Achievers (40 - Over):
1st) Jana Willman
2nd) Maria Sander
3rd) Kristine Yoon
Masters Male Achievers (40 - Over):
1st) Matthew Thompson
2nd) Tan Le
3rd) Dan Fliegel
3-Runner Team Podium Achievers (combined time):
1st Male) South Chicago Track Club - 2:56:14.6: James Weissensel, Steven Bugarin, Eric Hofmann
2nd Male) The Fliegel Bagels - 3:48:44.0: Soren Fliegel, Simon Doyle, Emmet Perry
1st Mixed) Chilly Achilles - 4:18:09.4: Andrew Masciopinto, Rachel Weyers, Paul Garcia

2:09 pm... our air-horn signaled the end of Gratuitous Six-Hour Run and those runners who were still on our "Little Loop" stopped, held their position while we wheeled-off their final extra distance. Eleven of twenty starters covered more than 26.2 miles, which earned them newly minted "Ultra Achiever" custom heavy medals molded with the image of Sleipnir, eight-legged horse of Norse mythology. More pizzas arrived at the warming shelter and all runners were honored for their achievements. We had a tie among "Top Female Achievers" with Julie Yen and Amanda Richey tallying 31.319 miles. Gratuitous six-hour distance recorded holder (37.782 miles), Karl Flener was "Top Male Achiever," defending his 2019 top finish. In addition to medals and pint-glasses top performers received special $50 gift-cards to Dick Pond Athletics of Park Ridge!

Winter Challenge Cross Country Gratuitous 6-Hour...
Female Podium Achievers:
1st) Amanda Richey, 31.319 miles
1st) Julie Yen, 31.319 miles
3rd) Tracey Escobedo, 31.069 miles

Male Podium Achievers:
1st) Karl Flener, 35.352 miles
2nd) Edward Czoski, 32.319 miles
3rd) Jeff Shoemaker, 32.069
Additional Ultra Achievers:
6th Overall) Brian Sheridan, 31.069 miles
6th Overall) Michael Glennon, 31.069 miles
9th Overall) Ken Schuch, 27.962 miles
9th Overall) Andrae Marak, 27.962 miles
9th Overall) Jorge Aguilera, 27.962 miles
Also Ran WC3 Gratuitous 6-Hourers:
12th Overall) Juli Aistars, 24.855 miles
13th Overall) Matthew Regan, 22.748 miles
14th Overall) Lexie Shoemaker, 21.998 miles
15th Overall) Eric Malak, 20.141 miles
15th Overall) Oscar Delgado, 20.141 miles
17th Overall) Wendy Jay, 18.641 miles
18th Overall) Avi Janssen, 15.534 miles
19th Overall) Chris Connelly, 12.427 miles
20th Overall) Jennifer DeSalvo, 10.821 miles (2 hours)
2-Runner Team Podium Achievers (combined distance):
1st Male) Riis Park Striders, 59.030 miles: Brian Sheridan, Ken Schuch
2nd Male) Navi, 42.889 miles: Matthew Regan, Eric Malak


Race production, hosting, timing, webcasting and finish-line scoring was managed by RunRace. Check out complete results through the links...
Results: Results on RunRace
Webcast: Webcast on RunRace (with Checkpoint Splits where available)

Let's give a rousing "shout out" to our thin-line of expert race volunteers for their generous support and dedication to cross country ruuning:
  • Packet Preparation: Jason Dorgan, Michelle Thom.
  • Aid Station Setup: Boris Tannenbaum, Paula Donato, Chris Precht, Brian Sheridan, Tom Kohler.
  • Runner Greeting / Check In: Jeni Goodwin, Michelle Thom.
  • Aid Station Captains: Jeni Goodwin, Paula Donato, Boris Tannenbaum.
  • Coffee/Cocoa Coordinators: Jeni Goodwin, Michelle Thom.
  • 6-Hour Manual Lap Tracking: Paula Donato.
  • Racecourse Marshalling: Michelle Thom.
  • Racecourse Marking / Course Cleanup: Thomas Kohler, Bill Thom.
  • Photography: Michelle + Bill Thom.
  • [Did I miss anyone here?... if you notice a missing or misspelled name please let me know.]
Photos of our gallery have been optimized for web-display... if you'd like a high-resolution original contact me, and I will respond with an attachment of the original image... be sure to specify which photo(s) you'd like. Got a photo that you'd like to share? We'd love to include with our gallery, so please send to me, optionally with your copyright credit info and description!

Our gratitude to runners and cross country enthusiasts who help spread-the-word of Winter Challenge Cross Country III...
* Juli & Val Aistars - Co RDs of Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer. As Juli says, "I love people! The more running friends, the better!"
* Coach Patrick Sheridan - Coach of EPHS Running Tigers Cross Country and Track & Field.
* Elias Theodosis and Laura Lackner who're both top Chicagoland runners with plenty of teammates from the Evanston Running Club.
* Chris Wilhite and Angela Hugel of Dick Pond Athletics running store in Park Ridge... hey, that's where we shop!
* Coach Melissa Savage and our teammates of Niles West Oakton Runners Club.
* Fearless Leader, Chris Precht and our teammates of the Riis Park Striders Riis Park Striders.

Congratulations to all who participated in this third annual edition of Winter Challenge Cross Country!
"Cross Country... best of all human endeavors!"
-Bill Thom: bill@runrace.net

Links & Recaps as Generously Provided by Participants of
Winter Challenge Cross Country!
Mandi Florip, WC3 15-Km 2nd Place Female, #476
Mandi's report published on Chicago Athlete: Winter Challenge Cross Country III

Got related info? Please send your link and we'll include it here!
Click a thumbnail for its larger image.
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Posted:January 15th, 2020 12:00 pm
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Last View:July 8th, 2020 9:56 pm
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