And they were easy to spot as they ran together as a pack for at least the first mile of the 3.1-mile race at Millennium Park, which is held annually in conjunction with the Great American Brass Band Festival. They finished the race in two groups of two, with Wesley and Lee finishing 12 to 15 seconds ahead of Payton and Dixon.
The four runners just finished the high school track season a week earlier, but Dixon talked the others into running some more.
"She just asked, and we said yes," Payton said.
Colorful attire was Dixon's idea
And the girls said their colorful attire was Dixon's idea, and they said she did most of the drawing. The stick figures were all different, with the one on Dixon's own shirt wearing braids just as she does.
"We were going to make them at state last week at the hotel, but we forgot the shirts," Dixon said.
Their shirts sported their nicknames on the back - "Peat" (Dixon), "Bug" (Lee), "Jer" (Payton) and "Nat" (Wesley) - lettered in duct tape and outlined in color.
Together, the four girls placed eighth in the Class AA girls 3,200-meter relay at last weekend's state high school track meet.
"We would've done good in a relay race," Payton said.
Separately, it was a different story. Dixon and Payton have done their share of distance running, but this was the first competitive run for Lee and Wesley of longer than 800 meters, or about half a mile.
And it was no easy morning to run, as high humidity made things uncomfortable for everyone.
"You have to pace yourself," Wesley said. "We're used to running where it's over in two minutes; this was like 28 minutes. It wasn't that bad, though. I think it was kind of fun."
"It was all right," she said.
Wesley said she was pleased that the girls never had to slow to a walk.
"We ran the whole thing, and I'm proud of that," she said. "I thought we'd have to stop and walk a little bit."
Largest field ever
The race, a fund-raiser for Danville Montessori School, attracted 181 runners, its largest field ever.
Race director Sarah Hempel said the high turnout might have been boosted because runners could enter on the Internet for the first time.
Daniel Morgan won the race in 17 minutes, 4 seconds, and Mandy Jones was the top overall female at 18:24.