Labor Day Race To Continue In Park Forest

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The "Park Forest Scenic 5 and more…" will continue a 31 year tradition of Park Forest hosting a race on Labor Day. (Photo: VOPF)

Restructred race to be called "Park Forest Scenic 5 and more…"

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Since 1977, the Scenic 10 Race has been a custom in Park Forest on the first Monday of September. The slightly hilly run that begins with a four-mile route through a forest preserve will be reconfigured this year with a shortening to a 5 mile course.

Recreation and Parks Director John Joyce says, “The quality and technical aspects of the race are going to be just as good as ever.” Joyce expects greater participation from local runners, including some who may have shied away from the race in the past due to distance.

Joyce estimates that 80% of runners who participated in last year’s Scenic 10 Race were non-Village residents and the change from a 10 to 5 mile race should help promote more involvement from Park Foresters and other area locals.

The announcement of last year’s race being the last for long-time Race Director Bud James and retiring Village employee and Race Coordinator Martha Davidson left many unanswered questions as to the future of the race. Residents in the Village and running community speculated that the race had seen its final run.

After hearing from the running community, the Board of Trustees created a task force to consider the future of the race. Following a four month study, the seven-member task force concluded that a race should continue on Labor Day in Park Forest.

“After interviewing experts in the running community, we realized we know more than we originally thought in coordinating a top-notch running event. We became more confident that we can do it again,” said Joyce. Under the revised format, former Race Director Bud James will again play a role in the race, agreeing to assist the Village with the technical details of the run.

Recommended changes from the task force include elimination of invited athletes, reduction in prize money and an increased focus on local runners. A number of post-race events have been proposed to heighten community involvement including a family-style bike ride, a 5 kilometer walk around the Central Park Wetlands (in conjunction with the Health Department’s 10-Ton Challenge) and incorporation of the Village’s Aqua Center , which will welcome dogs for the day. Additionally, the Park Forest Youth Commission has begun consideration of moving its annual Park Forest Youth Day to coincide with the slate of events that would also include a home run hitting contest in Central Park.

The Board of Trustees adopted a resolution on January 28th, 2008 in support of the proposed changes to the race, which are set to be finalized in the coming weeks. The “ Park Forest Scenic 5 and more…” will begin Monday, September 1st at 8:00 am.

Source: VOPF