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Stretch Your Legs with ‘Harvest Hustle’ Virtual 5K

Photo for: Stretch Your Legs with ‘Harvest Hustle’ Virtual 5K

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If you are craving a 5K race this fall, the Forest Preserve District has scheduled a virtual "Harvest Hustle" you can tackle in October.

To participate in this 5K, simply download a running application to your smart phone that will track your run. The next step is to complete 3.1 miles on one of 11 selected Forest Preserve trails (see below). 

“There are no winners or losers, only finishers,” said Ben Hecke, the Forest Preserve’s Community Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator. “Everyone has different abilities and this is a fun run.”

After you complete your 5K, take a screenshot of your completed route on your phone and submit it online between October 1 and October 31. The screenshot must show the date you completed your run.

The submission link will go live on the website October 1. The Forest Preserve also is encouraging participants to share their experiences by submitting photos of their "Harvest Hustle" accomplishments via the same submission link. 


The first 150 participants who submit proof that they have completed the run will receive orange, long-sleeve T-shirts with a Harvest Hustle logo on the front.

Here are the trails selected for the "Harvest Hustle" 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 and Wauponsee Glacial Trail.

Please note: The I&M Canal section that qualifies for this 5K runs from Joliet Iron Works Historic Site to 135th Street in Romeoville. Trail locations and additional information, including the surface type, can be found on the Forest Preserve’s trail page


“It doesn’t matter which section of these trails participants choose to run,” Hecke said. “But the entire 3.1-mile run must be completed on one of the 11 Forest Preserve paths.” 

Hecke said he is looking forward to seeing photos of the finishers and that he hopes the 5K motivates some to push themselves a little harder. 

“I hope it builds a great community of trail users and allows for folks to take on a personal challenge and complete a 5K or even set their personal best times,” he said.

The Harvest Hustle will reward those who started working out during the COVID-19 pandemic or those who persevered with their training, said Cindy Cain, the Forest Preserve's public information officer.

While big crowds are not allowed during the pandemic for safety reasons, this virtual 5K allows participants to enjoy a race and still say safe because they can run alone or with members of their household, Cain added. 

“And it will be fun to see photos of fellow runners ‘hustling’ along a path, enjoying being outdoors and staying healthy in a trying year,” she said. “So lace up your running shoes, complete the route and take some snapshots along the way to share with your fellow 5K participants.”


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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