Gurnee Park District offers socially distanced competition

  • The Hunt Club Community Park in Gurnee is one of six Gurnee Park District parks where people can participate at "Park N Play Field Days."

    The Hunt Club Community Park in Gurnee is one of six Gurnee Park District parks where people can participate at "Park N Play Field Days." Daily Herald File Photo, 2017

Posted6/11/2020 5:30 AM

During a usual summer, Gurnee Park District Athletic Supervisor Chris Marzano would be busy running the recreational sports leagues on the district's many fields.

But the global pandemic has left those fields bare, so Marzano came up with a novel way to get families out to them during the lockdown.


Throughout June, the park district will host "Park N Play Field Days." Six parks are set up with activity stations, such as the 40-yard dash and the standing long jump.

The idea is people will print out a scorecard, take it with them to the park and complete each challenge while being timed by a friend or family member.

"Get out with your family, race each other, race your friends, get your best times," Marzano said in a video about the event posted to Facebook.

While some of the events would fit in at a real sports competition, such as the NFL Combine-inspired "cone drill," others are on the sillier side. In the video, Marzano's daughter Emerson demonstrates the "dizzy zigzag run," which involves spinning around five times, then running in a zigzag pattern as quickly as possible.

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The only event that requires the user to bring any equipment from home is the "shot put," which requires a ball. In the video, Marzano's son Miles demonstrates his throwing skills with a tennis ball.

Deanna Angelini Johann, the park district's public relations and sponsorship specialist, said while the district walking and bike paths have been heavily used during the pandemic, it has been nice to see people using the fields again while completing the Park N Play events.

Johann said while the event has just gotten underway, several people have already submitted completed score sheets to Marzano at his email address,

As an added incentive to submit completed score sheets, some sheets will be picked at random at the end of the month and given prizes courtesy of the park district's partner, NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Park N Play Field Days stations can be found at: Betty Russell Park, 5300 Pinewood Road; Hunt Club Park, 900 N. Hunt Club Road; Ravinia Park, 20 Ravinia Drive; Viking Park, 4374 Old Grand Avenue; Vineyard Park, Vineyard Drive and Mendocino Drive; and Westgate Park, Lawson Boulevard and Hancock Lane.

To download a score sheet, visit

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