I’d never felt more #ProudlyDeKalb than Sunday morning.
And, I was a little bit proud of myself. Despite not being in, what do you call it, oh yeah, good shape, I ran a very steady Corn Classic 10K, nearly setting a personal record.
Meanwhile, I’d be willing to bet hundreds – yes, hundreds – of others set personal records.
Considering the race last year, before its massive face-lift, drew fewer than 150 runners, the 317 who registered and ran Sunday morning was a massive success, for which I can take little credit.
I was on the Corn Classic 10K committee, but admittedly, I only made about half the meetings leading up to the race. My most significant contribution, I think, was pulling a national anthem out of my running shorts on short notice. The rest of the committee, including the race’s President Cohen Barnes and Director Jessica Antonacci, were rock stars, putting in countless hours to make sure everything popped.
And pop it did. Same-day registration was smooth as silk. The race started on time, always a feat in and of itself. The fantastic entertainment along the course was perfectly spaced. The volunteers, when not busting their humps, were incredibly encouraging. The community showed up with their cheering voices and clever signs – most notably in the Elwood Neighborhood, which was clutch because it included a steady incline as we neared the finish line. That’s when spectators are invaluable.
To seal the successful deal, Mother Nature smiled on us.
The Van Buer Plaza, with the incredible smells of Taste of DeKalb masking that sweet post-race crowd stink, was abuzz. Everyone, from race organizers to runners to alumni to city officials, were over the moon about what an incredible morning it was.
Here’s the best part: While this was technically the 38th DeKalb Corn Classic, this year’s incarnation was only the beginning of great things to come for the race, the community and Northern Illinois University. As longtime DeKalb dentist Dennis Collins, who’s run this race many times before, said to me, the best is yet to come.
When the Huskies went on their run to the Orange Bowl in the 2012 season, attendance was pretty good. But the buzz around the city, the number of butts in seats, took off the next year. As you keep winning, people keep talking, keep wanting to be a part of it.
Here’s to bigger crowds and more winning seasons for the DeKalb Corn Classic 10K.
• Christopher Heimerman is the editor at the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.