"From well-established walks for national charities to novelty races that draw hundreds dressed as Mike Ditka or covered in spray paint, weekend mornings can become a traffic jam of competing causes on public walkways in Chicago and the suburbs," observes Vikki Ortiz Healy.
"The number of walks, runs and bike rides in Chicago has grown from 115 in 2005 to 250 so far this year, leaving Park District staff scrambling to keep all those walkers and runners out of each other's way, officials said. And then all those trash cans filled with energy drink cups have to be emptied after the crowds depart."
Yet even those responsible for cleaning up the mess seem happy to accommodate the growing schedule of events.
"This is certainly a busy time for us," said Alonzo Williams, director of revenue for the Chicago Park District. "But that's a good thing. The events on the lakefront bring in revenues, which support programs and capital improvements at neighborhood parks throughout the city."