Bouncing from one foot to the other, Mark Chatfield fended of the chill in the early Sunday morning air and warmed up for his first competitive 10K race.
"I've done a 5K before. This one should be fun, too," said the 39-year-old Aurora runner, one of more than an estimated 1,100 athletes who gathered at the Calamos Investments campus in northwest Naperville for the 11th Annual NCO Youth and Family Services Spring Ahead races.
As a member of the BP Running Club, he said he's required to compete in at least six races per year. He said he hadn't trained specifically for this race, preparing instead through his usual daily running regimen.
Chatfield said he'd studied a course map tacked up near the registration tables and was curious about the leg of the run that would take him through a section of forest preserve.
"They say you run through streams, over logs, all kinds of craziness," he said. "That's a good thing. The cold's not a good thing."
The morning's races, which included a kids fun run, a wheelchair race, a 5K street run and the 10K trail run, were a fundraiser for NCO, a Naperville-based social services agency that provides education, counseling, transitional housing and a group home for boys.
Chatfield began his run when an 8:15 a.m. air horn blast signaled the start of the 10K, but other runners, like Steve Heney, of Aurora, and his daughter, Kit, 13, prepared to pace each other in the 5K, which started at 8:30 a.m.
"It's our first 5K," said Steve Heney. "Our goal is to break 10 minutes - 10-minute miles."
Race results are posted at active.com and chicagoaa.com.