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Get Moving in October with the 'Harvest Hustle Virtual 5K'

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The Forest Preserve District has scheduled a “Harvest Hustle Virtual 5K” for the month of October to keep you motivated in your exercise program or to inspire you to jog a little farther or faster.

A virtual race is the best option right now with the pandemic continuing, said Jen Guest, the Forest Preserve’s recreation coordinator.

“Due to COVID-19, we have scheduled this as a passive 5K to avoid having a larger group program,” she said. “Also, offering it virtually allows more people to participate when it is convenient for them.”

Participants can complete their 5K outings anytime from Friday, October 1, through Sunday, October 31.

And don't worry if you're still a bit slow or you haven't quite got the cardio chops for a full 5K because you can run it or walk it. The key is to finish the full 5K, which is 3.1 miles. 

To participate, all you have to do is pick one of 11 designated trails for your run, record your 5K on a smartphone activity app, take a screenshot of your accomplishment and submit it via our online form.


“This year’s trail selection features some of the best running trails in our preserves for a 5K distance,” Guest said.

The first 100 5K finishers to upload their screenshots will receive free, long-sleeved “Harvest Hustle” shirts.

The virtual race also has an element of exploration to it, Guest said.

“The trail choices are located throughout Will County, so participants can select trails that are close to their homes or ones they may have never used before that are a bit farther away.”

October is a great month to get out for a run because the temperatures are cooler and the fall color provides a show, Guest added.

“We love getting people out in nature,” she said. “This program promotes wellness and exercise in picturesque preserve settings. Whether you are a seasoned runner who runs 5Ks often or a first-time 5K-er, this is a perfect program for all levels since you can go at your own pace.”


Here are the trails you can choose from for your 5K:

  • DuPage River Trail 
  • Hickory Creek Bikeway 
  • I&M Canal Trail 
  • Lake Renwick Bikeway 
  • Messenger Woods Nature Preserve Trail 
  • Old Plank Road Trail 
  • Plum Creek Greenway Trail 
  • Prairie Bluff Trail 
  • Rock Run Greenway Trail 
  • Spring Creek Greenway Trail 
  • Wauponsee Glacial Trail 

For trail location information, visit the Interactive Map, which also includes a measuring tool so you can plot your run.

And don’t forget to record your 5K trek with photos. You can submit photos with your 5K screenshot upload or post them to social media and tag the Forest Preserve District.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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