Runners searching for a unique 5K or 10-mile race need look no further than the hills of Lemont, where the Advocate Good Samaritan Quarryman Challenge will take place on Saturday, May 12.
Now in its seventh year, the Quarryman Challenge starts and finishes in downtown Lemont, weaving through scenic areas of the village throughout both courses.
The 5K (3.1 miles) will begin at 7:30 a.m. in front of Village Hall, 418 Main St. The 10-mile race starts five minutes later, at the intersection of Main and Julia streets.
Race director Dave Fako said more than 600 people have already registered to run, and is hopeful this will be the race’s biggest year yet.
“It’s different and unique,” he said, adding that participants range from elite runners to casual joggers. “We have a nice setting where it’s easy to watch the race from the downtown area too.”
Fako said the section of Main Street that cuts through downtown Lemont will be closed from traffic starting at 6 a.m. The street is scheduled to reopen by 10:30 a.m.
New this year to the Quarryman is a youth category for runners ages 12 and under. The children can participate for a discounted rate, and are eligible for age group awards.
For the second year in a row participants are also welcome to take on the Double Dare Challenge, in which they will run both the Lemont Quarryman and the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 on July 21 for a discounted rate.
The Double Dare gives runners a chance to compete for overall prizes based on combined times from both races, and an extra goodie.
For runners interested in training locally for the race, Next Level Training Academy, 12301 S. New Ave., is offering discounts for monthly memberships and fitness packages to all Quarryman participants.
Next Level will also host a two-hour running clinic at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 for $10 to prepare runners for the challenge.
Guy Petruzzelli, cross-fit coach at Next Level, said the clinic will feature about 90 minutes of learning the Pose Method, a form of running that helps runners improve their form while staying injury-free. The last half hour will be dedicated to questions and answers, he said.
Some other topics that will be covered include how to reserve energy supply while running and how to decrease running time.
“It help teaches, even the more professional runner, how to run correctly,” said Next Level owner Chris Knollin, adding that if there is a lot of interest for the clinic they will try to hold additional clinics on the other Saturdays leading up to the race.
Orland Park-based Tri Smart Coaching will also be offering group runs of the courses in the coming weeks, Petruzzelli said.
After the race there will be a party and awards ceremony near the finish line. Participants and volunteers will be treated to free food and drinks from area businesses including 3 Corners Grill & Tap and The Vault. Plaques made of stone from local quarries and prize money for top runners will also be distributed.
“It’s just a fun, well-organized event,” Fako said, adding that in the past few years the race has succeeded in its goal of promoting Lemont and raising awareness of the businesses and opportunities for outdoor activities, such as running, that are available there.
All entry fees and sponsorship money for the race is used to pay for the various costs of the event, but Fako said any leftover funds will be put toward trail marker signs and to promote outdoor recreation and events in the village.