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  • Tom Dobrez, Hidden Gem Half Marathon Co-Director

Who Remembers The Park Forest Scenic 10?

Do you miss the Park Forest Scenic 10 race? Was it a staple of your annual running calendar? Looking for an exciting road run of over 10 miles to fill that longing? The Hidden Gem Half Marathon in Flossmoor on the first Saturday in September just might be the ticket. This CARA Certified Race is an inaugural event being held in one of Chicagoland’s secret suburbs-Flossmoor--and is perfectly timed for marathon training.

Long known for its history as a golf mecca dating back to the roaring 1920s, Flossmoor has evolved into a culturally rich enclave with easy access to downtown Chicago and an award-winning education system.

And now it will play host to a vital new half marathon winding through its tree-lined streets on September 7th. Chicago runners can take the METRA Electric south line directly to Flossmoor and be steps away from registration and the starting line of this USTAF (#IL19008NM) confirmed 13.1-mile course traversing the seven distinct boroughs of this suburb. After reviewing the Chicagoland running calendar with CARA officials last November, myself and the other organizers of the Hidden Gem decided to fill the void in runners’ calendars made by the recent dissolution of the Scenic 10, with a distinct run through the tree-lined streets of Flossmoor. But we also wanted it to be more.

“I was a big fan of the Scenic 10 and for years ran it with my wife,” said co-chair of the event Sam Cutrara. “I have also been running the streets of Flossmoor for years and envisioned a perfect course that was scenic and challenging. With the support of numerous government and citizens’ groups we have done just that with the Hidden Gem. I foresee this becoming a big part of runners’ training for the Chicago Marathon for years. The Gem should become a staple of their annual training.”

Course design is one thing, but we also wanted to stand out among all of the other races going on in the Chicago area. “This will be a half-running, half-celebrating event,” according to co-chair Betsy Cutrara. “We have entertainment like drum lines, children choirs, and rock and roll bands lining the course and supporting the runners, and all of this after NBC’s The Voice finalist and hometown girl Oliv Blue sings the national anthem.”

Runners will also receive a technical ¼ zip long-sleeve running shirt plus a finishing micro beer - The Hidden Gem - crafted by Flossmoor Station Brewery especially for the run. We’re also inviting runners for a special preview of the course--and the beer--on Saturday, July 13th at a Bike The Gem event.

That day, runners and curiosity seekers will be able to bike the full course with police escort and then finish the ride with the debut of the Hidden Gem beer. There is no fee for the Bike ride and interested participants can show up on Saturday morning at 10:00am at the parking lot of Infant Jesus of Prague School, 1131 Douglas in Flossmoor.

CARA members are given a discount for registering for the half marathon, which is now open at


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