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Article updated: 5/25/2013 5:27 PM

A happy surprise for one mom at Elgin's Fox Trot

By Elena Ferrarin

It's not every day that you think your daughter is in London and then, out of the blue, you see her cross the finish line of a local race.

That's what happened to Cherie Murphy of Elgin, who got the surprise of her life Saturday when her daughter Bri showed up at the 36th annual Elgin Valley Fox Trot.

"They tricked me into going up there (to the finish line) saying somebody had an announcement," said Murphy, who works in Elgin as assistant to the city manager for community engagement.

"Then they said, 'Oh, look!' and she crossed the finish line. It took me a second to realize. I definitely cried."

Bri Murphy said she wanted to do something special for her parents, who celebrated their anniversary on Friday. She stayed with a neighbor after flying in from London on Thursday, and plans to spend the whole summer in Elgin, she said.

A total of 2,306 runners registered for the Fox Trot, which featured a 5K race, a 10-mile race and a 2-mile walk, officials said.

The weather in the low 50s was perfect for the race, even if unseasonably cold for late May, said friends Matt Lynch and Mark Andersen of Elgin, who ran the 5K.

This was the first Fox Trot for the friends, who said they were inspired by Andersen's 65-year-old mother Jytte, who took up running two years ago. "We helped her set her best time," Andersen said.

Solimar Santiago, 14, of St. Charles, and Riley Hinthorne, 13, of West Dundee, were among runners from the Elgin Sharks Track Club for children ages 5 to 18, which always has a strong showing at the Fox Trot.

"I really like the course except for the first hill, that always throws me off," Solimar said. "Then you get used to it."

The winner of the 5K, Elmhurst resident Willy Kaul, said he really enjoyed the hilly course -- even though he almost missed the turnaround point. There was a sign, but a race official pointing the way would have been better, he said.

"I caught up with some (10-mile runners) and I kept asking them, 'Is this the way?'" he said. "I almost got lost."

Among the hundreds of spectators was Rolling Meadows police officer Brian Barry, of South Elgin, who came with his Old English Sheepdog Lady to support his wife Jaime. Barry is a runner too, but he finished his shift at 3 a.m. early Saturday and opted not to run this year, he said.

The so-called "runner's high" is truly addictive, said runner Genevieve Delos Santos, of North Aurora, who took up running in January, two months after she turned 40. She plans to run the Fox Valley Half Marathon in September, she said.

"I just feel more energized," she said. "It really is a sense of accomplishment. Even after a full day of work, I will go running."

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