Revised route works well for 35th Fox Trot
By Katie Anderson For The Courier-News May 26, 2012 4:28PM
Michele Albano, left from Elgin, high fives Edith Raices, from hoffna Estates, after at the finish line for the 5K run at the 35th Annual Elgin Valley Fox Trot in Elgin Saturday. May 26, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:22AM
ELGIN — The start gun rang out at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, sending Thomas Frazer and hundreds of other 10-mile runners down Douglas Street and into the first mile of the 35th Annual Elgin Valley Fox Trot.
The sight of Frazer’s tall, thin frame topped with curly red hair dissolved into the wave of bobbing shoulders and heads as the group quickly rounded a corner and headed northwest toward Lord’s Park.
Frazer, 30, of Lake Forest, finished back on Douglas just past Kimball Street a short 52 minutes and 54 seconds later as the first-place finisher of the city’s historic 10-mile run. That event, along with accompanying 5K and a charity walk, were held as planned despite apprehension about the several major changes to the event. Saturday was the first time the Fox Trot has not been held on the Monday holiday for Memorial Day.
In addition, the route for the Fox Trot was modified and notably eliminated a section that typically went along Chicago Street.
“I really wanted to not like it,” said Doug Jones of Batavia. He spoke after his first place 10-mile finish in the 50-55 age category with a time of 1:04:08.
“I’m a traditionalist,” he said. “It is sad. But I have to admit I really liked it.”
Jones has run in more than 20 Fox Trots, including the very first race, and also is part of the Fox River Trail Runners.
The new route featured what felt to runners like a few more hills and a better look at some of the residential areas near downtown Elgin. In particular, Jones praised the part of the course that went through Lords Park, as well as the placement of water stations.
Although it was his first Fox Trot, Frazer, who lived in Ireland and other parts of the world before recently moving to the Lake Forest, also complimented the route.
“The race was very well organized, which made it easy and fun to run,” Frazer said.
His only criticism came in jest and was related to the fluorescent orange color of the “no parking” signs placed along city streets during the event.
Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg was the Frazer’s closest competition and the second-place 10-mile finisher. The bright orange of the no-parking signs matched Giuliano’s running outfit, so when Frazer would catch a glimpse behind him during the race he would think the street signs were his competition gaining on him, he said.
The race was changed this year for several reasons, according to city officials.
“We changed the route due to budget reductions,” said Barb Keselica, special events and community engagement coordinator for the city of Elgin. To have Chicago Street, for example, blocked off to traffic would require too many police officers, she said.
“We changed the day because we wanted to keep Memorial Day a saved day for people to honor veterans and spend time with their families,” Keselica continued.
In addition to the Fox Trot running events, the event included the a street party area for runners and their fans where competitors were able to get stretched out by physical training professionals, fill up on fruits and liquids and listen to local classic rock band ARRA.
“It’s pretty amazing and wonderful to see,” said Jim Juengling of West Dundee. Juengling was the chair of the committee which organized the very first Fox Trot and came back Saturday to celebrate 35 years and to cheer on his daughter, Marie, as she ran for the first time in the event.