Date: May 11, 2013
Starting Location: River Park, Chicago, Illinois
Official Manifest: manifest.pdf
Neighborhoods: Albany Park, North Center, Lakeview
Runners: 450
Finished Alive: 137 (30.4%)
Fastest Time: 2h 16m
Most Tags: 15

The Course

Somehow after all these years of Journey to the End of the Night in Chicago, we had failed to run a course through Lakeview. Well, that would be remedied in 2013. The course would begin in Albany Park and run south and east until ultimately ending up outside the Athenaeum Theater.

After lots and lots of growth, we took our foot off the pedal for 2013 and didn’t publicize it as much. We didn’t think we’d have more than 200 or 300 people. We were wrong.


Starting Line

We began in River Park, one of many parks in Chicago we didn’t know existed before Journey. What a gem! Not only was there a large cement platform to kick things off, but there was a freaking waterfall! Here in Chicago! Where the whole freaking city doesn’t get more than 10 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, the runners were heading away from the waterfall, so most probably didn’t even see it, but go back and check it out sometime!

Crowds gathering before the game begins

Crowds gathering before the game begins

Checkpoint 1: Horner Park

Things got off to a crazy start right off the bat in 2013. As always, most runners made it to the first checkpoint without too much trouble. There aren’t too many chasers yet.

Little did they know, however, that once they got there they would be giving birth… to an egg! As runners climbed to the top of the sledding hill at Horner Park they were greeted by other runners lying on the ground, groaning.

It’s not easy giving birth.

Once their beautiful babies were born, each runner had to name his or her egg. And what great names! “Captain McQueen!”

So many babies waiting to be born.

So many babies waiting to be born.

Checkpoint 2: North Center Cul-de-sac

Getting to checkpoint 1 was a walk in the park (literally) but the route to checkpoint 2 started to get a little dicey.

Those who made it to checkpoint 2 were met with a simple task: get your map stamped. Unfortunately there was a lot of bureaucratic red tape at this checkpoint, so it was easier said than done.

Is your egg broken? You need a death certificate before your map can be stamped.

Does your egg’s name start with a vowel? You’re in the wrong line.

It’s the only way to keep things organized!!

Checkpoint 3: The Garden Chicago Dirt Jumps

Checkpoint 3 was in one of the most bizarre locations we’ve encountered in Chicago. Behind the biggest high school in Illinois is an odd little forest preserve nestled next to the river. A few years ago, some dudes got permission from the city to build a dirt jump track in there.

But where was the checkpoint? By the time most people got to this weird creepy forest preserve, the sun had gone down. Runners had to find the Checkpoint 3 sign, which had stamps attached to it, and stamp their own maps.


Checkpoint 4: Hamlin Park

If you’ve made it all the way to checkpoint 4, you’re near the end. Who knows how far you’ve run. The course may only be 6 miles long, but you may need to go out of your way to stay alive. (Some went 20 miles out of their way!)

You’re tired. And when you’re tired, you need… MILK AND COOKIES!!!

Checkpoint 4 was a pajama party with home-baked cookies and milk. Lots of them. Want stats?

Gallons of Milk: 2
Gallons of Water: 3
Gallons of Apple Juice: 3
Homemade Cookies: 450

Checkpoint 5: Wrigley Field

The southeast corner of Wrigley Field was pretty quiet for the first few hours of the game. Well, I shouldn’t say quiet. It was Wrigleyville on a Saturday night. There were plenty of bachelorette parties and drunken shenanigans. Just no runners.

We started to get worried that there was a massacre going on and no one would make it to the end alive.

And then Joanna sauntered up casually. Were it not for the blue ribbon on her arm, we would have assumed she wasn’t even playing.

Checkpoint 5 can be a happy occasion or a somber occasion. Remember the eggs everyone was given at checkpoint 1? At checkpoint 5, they either take a family photo with their egg family or, if the unthinkable has happened, they need to give a eulogy for their deceased egg.

Joanna happily produced “Julie” from her pocket and we took a family photo before sending her on her way.


Eulogy for a dead egg at Wrigley Field

Finish Line: Athaneaum Theater

The journey finally ended outside the Athaneaum Theater after running through Albany Park, North Center, Ravenswood, Lakeview, Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park. As always seems to be the case, about 25-30% of the runners made it to the end alive.