When it’s November in Chicago, you can never know exactly what to expect when you walk out the door each day. But as we set out on Saturday to compete in the Carrera de los Muertos, Team Chicago’s signature event, we at least knew that there was cold and rain in the forecast. Outfitted in warm weather gear, ponchos, and umbrellas (“just in case”), we headed down to Pilsen, the neighborhood showcased each year in the race. Having tackled the Carrera last year on an unseasonably beautiful day, we knew what to expect out of the course – it’s a 5K event that leads you through city streets, past murals, restaurants, and galleries.
Arriving near the course, we headed the 1/2 mile to the starting line, but 30 seconds in, the grey sky opened up, cracking with thunder, and throwing down rain at an angle. After heading back for our umbrellas, we were on our very wet and windy way. We noticed streets that were full of racegoers last year looking relatively deserted. As we grew closer to the race course, the only runners we saw were heading past us, away from the race – not a good sign! Still we heard the familiar drums signaling runners to take their positions, so with our shoes squishing, we pressed on.
Approaching the starting line, we saw what looked like only a few hundred people waiting for the race on a block that was packed from front to back last year. The race was scheduled to begin at 8:00, and 8:00 came and went. Finally, we saw the people at the very front of the pack turn around and walk away – the race was officially cancelled! With heavy rain, lightning, and streets that were quickly flooding, safety was a concern. Heading back to the finish line, we picked up our medals, which didn’t feel were quite deserved but are a wonderful souvenir of an unexpected and eventful day.
While we were disappointed to not be able to complete the Carrera, we were pleased to come out under the common goal of a better world – for animals, humanity, and the planet. Saturday is a day that I’ll never forget, and I look forward to racing next year for the animals!