Team Atayne - Frank Lloyd Wright Races Trash Runners '08
Claire, Adrian, Mike H., Jason, Katherine, Mike M., Me, Christina
It's not like we're reinventing the wheel here folks. But, it is nearly as exciting :)
Team Atayne took on another trash running adventure and headed to the little suburb of Oak Park, which shares the western border of Chicago. The draw? The 32nd Annual Frank Lloyd Wright Races, of course! I've been an FLW participant since I was about yay high, and I have never forgotten how I whined and complained when my mom came home and announced she had signed me and the rest of my siblings up for the 1-mile fun run (I was about 8 years old). Fun run? Sick joke. Of course that was back in the day when we ran the mile run in gym class once per year, and I usually showed up to gym class in Keds and dress (I had a phase...I would only where dresses throughout most of elementary school). So, running wasn't quite my forte.
Anyhow, ever since, I've always participated in the FLW Races (1 mile, 5k, 10k), last year's Races being my first go at the 10k distance...my how far I've come in one year! So, when I saw the Races posted I talked to Jeremy and Mike at Atayne to see what they thought about making it a Team Atayne event.
After lots of phone calls and e-mails, and a little bit of paperwork, Atayne was officially a sponsor of the FLW Races, woohoo!
The Races have never been a 'green' race before, so this required a good bit of "consulting" on our part to help them move towards that this year. However, some things we couldn't change (i.e. getting recyclable paper cups for the aid stations, as opposed to the wax lined, non-recyclable cups they had already ordered), so it wasn't going to be 100% green, but it was a start.
I worked with the Races' awesome sponsorship coordinator, Joanna, to make sure we would have everything set for race day: recycling containers along the course and the start/finish area, making sure aid station crews kept trash and recycling separated throughout the day, having follower trucks at the back of the race to take on full bags of trash and recycling as needed, getting a tent/table for Atayne setup, coordinating garbage pick-up post race and making sure we had somewhere to put all the recycling when we were done...oh, and rallying enough volunteers to make sure everything went smoothly! Getting the volunteers was the hardest part, and the most stressful. In the end though, some really great members of Chicago Beer Runners stepped up and did a killer job. I am so grateful for their help, we couldn't have done it without them.
Trash Runners preparing to head out...
Mike flew in for the weekend (thank goodness!) and the original plan was to have him stay at the Atayne tent and sell shirts, but since my hamstring was still acting up we decided to have me stay at the tent and Mike would lead Team Atayne along the route. Then I found out I was also going to be presenting the overall winners (M & F) for the 5k and 10k, fun! So, once the runners headed out, Katherine and I hung back and sold some shirts, talked Atayne, and jumped around while holding hot cups of coffee in an effort to keep from freezing our rears off. It was a little chilly that morning :) We sold a handful of shirts, but the best part was the exposure Atayne got. The response we got from runners was incredible. While we didn't sell as much as we were hoping to, I think that the incredibly positive reactions and sincere interest, shown by everyone who stopped by the table, in who and what Atayne is was invaluable. Definitely made the day worthwhile. Oak Park is a very green community so I was certainly expecting the reaction we got.
A couple of the runners made it back fairly quickly, and were sitting at the tent when I returned from the 5k awards ceremony. They had gotten separated from the others somehow, so they ended sticking to the 5k route (rather than the planned 10k route). This turned out well because now the entire course was going to be cleaned!! We waited for awhile for the rest of the crew to show up...apparently they left so long after the 10k began that even the follower trucks were out of sight for them, and this meant two things: no clear idea of where the route was, and nowhere to put their full garbage and recycling bags! Thankfully, there were arrows on the ground indicating the route, and they made it just fine.
They're alive!! The rest of the Trash Runners finally show up...
In all, I think we ended up with 9 bags of recycling (cans, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes) and a ton of trash! I'm not sure how many bags of trash there were, but I saw the two garbage trucks pass by during breakdown and they were bursting at the seams with trash.
I wish I could have run with them, but it's better that I didn't push it. Trash running is so much fun! They all agreed that six miles is a long way when you're trash running. Mike said he couldn't believe we did it for 14.5 in Maine!
Afterwards, we all split up to go home, and Mike, Mike M., Christina and I got in my car to grab some breakfast before heading back into the city. On the way in, I decided to drive the 'scenic' route, as Mike had never seen the westside of Chicago...
The event went very well (better than I was expecting). There are a few things that could be tweaked and worked on for next year to make it even better, and a little smoother. But in all, it was a success, and the Race organizers were thrilled to have us there. We were the talk of the town!
Many many thanks to all the volunteers for giving up their Sunday morning for us, and for doing such a great job.