Breakdown: Since 2007, the Carrera de los Muertos has been taking place in Pilsen, combining colorful Day of the Dead celebrations with a 5K supporting UNO (United Neighborhood Organization) Charter Schools. The result is a medium-large, well-organized neighborhood race that both honors the neighborhood’s heritage and draws others into the community. There were volunteers aplenty at the start and finish, as well as along the wide, closed course. Ethnic food and drinks were available at base camp (an UNO parking lot) with the purchase of Carrera Cash (food tickets). This is an outstanding local race that effectively mixes tradition, athleticism, community and plain-old fun.
Price: $35 early bird (5/12-8/12), $40 online (8/13-10/28), $45 race day
Course: The race started and finished in Pilsen near UNO’s Bartolome de las Casas Charter School campus, kicking off from 16th and Paulina and finishing one block south on 17th and Paulina (with the race base camp positioned in between). Multiple dance and musical groups performed throughout the course, providing thematic entertainment.
Organization (gear check, etc.): From the three days of pre-race packet pickup to race-day registration to gear check to course volunteers, UNO was really on the ball with this one, especially considering that it’s a fairly large field (almost 3,000 runners) for a neighborhood charity run.
Goodie Bag (includes shirt): Finisher’s received a skull made of sugar rather than a race medal and the blue long-sleeve race shirt with the colorful race logo on the front and skulls down the sleeves may take the cake (or sugar skull) for best race shirt of the year.
Weather: Low forties—a bit chilly, but with proper running gear it’s ideal weather for an early November run. (Zach Freeman)