From one virtual race to another beginning in waves from two different starting gates, the annual Barnyard Dash 5K & Pig Pen One-Miler quite literally changed course the last couple years.

But …

“We’re basically bringing everything back to make it normal again,” says Abby Shepherd, the Fox Valley Park District’s rentals and events supervisor who’s coordinating the 2022 Barnyard 5K. “The course was pretty much backwards last year.”

With pandemic restrictions lifted this spring, the ’22 Barnyard returns to its familiar setup – and layout – on Saturday, April 23 on a picturesque course that winds through Blackberry Farm and continues along the Gilman Trail.

Geared for racers of all levels, the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m., before the family-centric Pig Pen 1-Miler steps off at 9:45. Cost is $32 until April 21 and $37 thereafter, including day-of walk-up registrations, which are again being accepted this year.

Racers are guaranteed to receive a participant bag (event shirt, bib and participation medal) when they register online by Wednesday, April 13. Packet pickup will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Blackberry Farm.

Other race features include:

  • Chip-timed results for all participants (results will be posted online after the event)
  • Free beer ticket (ages 21+) and bacon slices at the finish line
  • Awards presented to the first-, second- and third-place male and female finishers (delivered via mail after the race)
  • $50 Visa gift cards for top overall male and female finishers

Spectators are once again welcome – and encouraged – on race day, which features participants with varied objectives, Shepherd says. Some train to compete for personal bests, others come dressed in themed t-shirts to support a cause, and many moms and dads pack the stroller to make it more of a family day out.

“It’s a very cool, scenic route through the park and on the Gilman Trail, and we definitely have a variety of runners and walkers,” Shepherd says. “The Barnyard is an event that suits all participants, no matter your pace.”

For more information and/or to register, visit