This weekend is the Chicago Lakefront 50/50 fall edition. The current 50 mile World Record of 4:50 was set on the Chicago Lakefront by Bruce Fordyce in 1984. This course is flat. This course is fast. On the current certified course, a 12.5 mile out and back repeated four times on concrete, Oz Pearlman owns the course record of 5:25, set in 2009. In fact, he holds the fastest four finish times run on this course. Ann Heaslett holds the women’s course record of 6:53, which she set in 2006. True mountain runners need not apply; this event is for pure speed and a lust for concrete underfoot.
The only thing that may slow runners in any given year is the weather. This is Chicago after all. That won’t happen this year as the forecast is near perfect with highs in the low 50s and clear. Like last year, Oz Pearlman isn’t on the entrants’ list this year, so the door is open for veteran 50 mile specialist, Mark Lundblad from North Carolina to make waves along the Lakefront. A Browsing of the entrants, nicely provided to me by Race Director, Pat Onines leaves me to believe Lundblad will have his way with a solo effort. He is, in fact, a mountain and trail specialist, to be specific. However, he’s shown great speed on the road and flatter courses with runs at JFK and Tussey Mountainback that illustrate his flatland speed.
For the women… I’m going with Cathy Becker for the outright win and Rachel Arthur from Tennessee in her first ultra nipping at her heels until near the end. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a female write about the female predictions?