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Druley: Memorial Day race in St. Charles adds new twists

The many novelties of the Foot Mechanics Memorial Day Main Street Mile brought thousands of curious runners to downtown St. Charles for the inaugural event last year.

With a few more wrinkles in store for this year’s race, organizers are confident the field can only grow.

“Everything in Chicagoland is usually a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon,” media coordinator Jen Banowetz says. “But here we have a mile race where they shut down Main Street and you can bring your dog. It’s kind of a race for everyone.”

The first of seven race waves begins at 7:30 a.m. on May 30, with the Pet Pals event that allows runners to participate with their dogs. The course proceeds eastbound through Main Street – and downhill – taking runners from 14th Street to Riverside Avenue.

A cash bounty of $1,000 will be available should any Elite wave runner break the course record – 3:53 for men, 4:30 for women. Three male Elite runners broke four minutes in 2010, including Sandburg standout Lukas Verzbicas, a two-time IHSA cross country state champion who plans to be on hand again.

Recent Geneva graduate Kevin McDowell, an emerging triathlete, also is expected to attend.

“If anyone has wanted to witness what a sub-4-minute mile is going to look like, Memorial Day in St. Charles is where it’s going to happen,” Banowetz said.

Registration costs $20 for runners ages 7-10, and $30 for all athletes 11 and over. Registration closes May 29. For more information, log on to

Other waves include the Family/Youth mile and the Colonial Challenge. The Colonial Challenge involves teams from different area high schools competing head-to-head, with the fastest winning such prizes as a Colonial kitchen sink.

An awards ceremony is set to be held at the nearby Arcada Theatre after the event, which is expected to last about 90 minutes.

The St. Charles Day Memorial Day Parade follows the slate of races.

Staying cool, then warm: Temperatures plunged throughout the day Friday, leaving student-athletes preparing for competitions in the afternoon with a dilemma.

They arrived at school expecting something balmy, but instead were treated to blankets and breeze. For the Geneva girls track team, familiar faces helped the Vikings deal with the shifting weather at the IHSA Class 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional.

“It was strange, because it was hot in the morning, then we stepped outside after school and it was cold and everyone wasn’t prepared,” senior distance runner Liza Tauscher said. “But our parents brought us warmer clothes, so it worked out.”

• Kevin Druley  is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or

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