What an epic night. Team FoeCakes started out as maybe 20 people who all started the race together. A few blocks of sprinting later and the team had dispersed. A lot of us made it to the first checkpoint together and then we headed down the safe zone. We came to the final block of the safe zone and I said I would go scout an alternate route through a cabbie junkyard. I got to the end of it and found a suitable alley to follow and turned around. Where did the team go? Rex
and jumpin’ jane flash
were there, but no one else was. That’s the last time I scout for them! I got a call from Gremlin
and met up with her and Kevin and somehow lost Rex and jumpin’ jane flash. Then a chaser on a bike spotted us. We all ran for it. Gremlin and Kevin back to the safe zone, the logical thing to do. I ran across the street, hoping the median would keep the biker from following me. She went for Gremlin and Kevin. Excellent, my plan worked. Wait, now I’m stuck in this little alcove with an apartment door and the chaser is circling back around… So I did what anyone who’s a fan of spy novels would do: I pretended to be fumbling with my keys in the apartment door, my back to the street. My heart was pounding in my chest. If the chaser saw me, I was done for. I heard the whir of the bike as it sped past. Success!! (This little story won me the gold metal at the end of the night for best story in 10 words or less. The Story: I pretended it was my apartment and lost the chaser.)
After that close call I met up with Gremlin and Kevin again and we started the long haul through various alleys and 1 hobo path to the next checkpoint. We met little resistance as we went. A block from the safe zone of checkpoint 2, we decided to let a group of 3 runners go in front of us to act as bait and flush the chasers. But as they passed us, we realized it was meredithian
, Mr. G
, and Sparrows Fall
, all members of team FoeCakes. So we joined forces and a few steps later, were scattered when an UNMARKED chaser ran after us. Some of us managed to escape into the subway. We sent a few other runners up ahead of us as bait and then made a made dash for the safe zone. Success! We ended up waiting for Gremlin to rejoin us there and headed for the blue line. Incidentally, this was the 1 and only time we took a train and it was only for 1 stop. My poor CTA card must have felt cheated.
We got off the train and headed for Lower Wacker Drive.
“Is there a pedestrian walkway on Lower Wacker?”
“I don’t know. Let’s go!”
Lower Wacker Jaunt
More Lower Wacker Jaunting
We found a service driveway and kept to that, stopping to check out some thugs ahead and make sure they weren’t chasers. They weren’t, but the 2 people lazily heading towards us were. Run! After scattering again, we all somehow managed to avoid the chasers and meet up again at checkpoint 3. We promptly got separated again, heading for checkpoint 4. Gremlin and I stayed with Rex and jumpin’ jane flash after a pit stop to Walgreens. We decided to take the direct route of Michigan Ave and tried to blend in with the crowd of tourists. We did this so well that one homeless man didn’t believe us when we said we were from Chicago. Mission: Accomplished. One block from checkpoint 4, we lost Cara to exhaustion. We once again met up with our cohorts and headed for checkpoint 5, possibly the most harrowing part of our journey. We went way out of the way to avoid the chasers (this was the theme of the night). This plan worked well until we were once again a block from the safe zone. Kevin and meredithian went running off in different directions and the rest of us headed down into an underground parking garage.
“That’s a private driveway!”
“No through traffic!”
“For cars, not people!”
We got the end of the garage and spotted a 4 foot cement wall that wasn’t fenced off, but decided to try the entrance ramp back up to street level instead. A few of us scouted it out and promptly ran back in the other direction, after seeing 5 chasers laying in wait. They followed and one by one, we all jumped the cement wall and ended up next to train tracks and running through gravel and debris until we made out way up to street level. Definitely the highlight of my night.
View from above of the wall we jumped. There was simply no time during the escape to stop for a photo op.
Some of us were separated and made another dash when more chasers followed. We ran behind a bank building and made a new plan. It was right out of Saving Private Ryan. Gremlin, Rex, Sparrows Fall and I decided the only thing to do was make a mad dash for the safe zone, hoping one of us survived. We’d do it as a team or not at all. We pumped ourselves up, made our peace, then emerged…only to find that all the chasers had disappeared and our path to the safe zone was clear. How anticlimactic!
Checkpoint 5 Confusion
After regrouping at the checkpoint, we set off for the final leg. We once again, went WAY out of the way to get to Balbo to cross Lake Shore Drive. Paranoia was high, but we met no resistance. Our legs were just about to give out when we timed our movements to make the walk signal across LSD and found ourselves in the final safe zone! I couldn’t believe we had survived. And it only took 5 hours…
Some of Team FoeCakes give the cupcakes what's coming to 'em.
It’s Thursday and I’m only now not limping around because of the horrible shin splints. A Saturday night well spent! Thanks Dax and all the volunteers for making this one of the most memorable nights in Chicago!! I think my favorite part was getting to explore parts of the city I might not otherwise go and to look at the streets from a very different perspective. That of a runner.