Saturday July 26, 2014. Chicago, IL. 7 am. 70ish, cloudy, humid. Race to celebrate the Big Ten Conference.
Registration: Available online in early spring, for around $50. You could not register at packet pick up. Early registration was encouraged to get your school specific technical shirt. Also included with registration was chip timing, trucker hat, post race beer & post race sausage. *There was also a 5k run an hour later, all finisher’s received a 10k shirt
Participants had to provide an estimated finishing time to be placed in a corral. If you could prove a faster time from a previous race you could be placed in a faster corral. *I submitted a faster time, received a generic email that I would be placed in a faster corral. As well as my running friend Laura.
Packet Pick up: Held at Feel Feet Sports – Old Town location. Held the entire week from 10 am to 8pm. Parking in ramp for $2 with validation, or metered street spot. Someone else could pick up your packet. Volunteers set up in hall area to get bibs. Then proceeded to back area of store to get gear check bag and shirt. *The volunteers with the bibs did not know anything more than just handing you the correct bib number. The t-shirt pick up room was small & crowded, but those volunteers knew more. *There were no race organizers on site, no one knew what to do about my corral change. Finally someone gave us an email to follow up on the corral change, and to check at the solutions tent before the race. Another friend, Tereasa received a bib that was shoved & bent in the box, bending the chip on the back of the bib. Overheard from a volunteer/employee “Why did everyone wait until the last minute to pick up packets?” Um maybe not everyone lives in Chicago, duh!. This store was also no where near the start / finish of the race. The race is big enough for an actual expo. Also the other party we were traveling with couldn’t get their parking validated, parking cost $11.
Pre-race: Parking was available nearby for $20. Gear check was open before the corrals, which opened at 6:00 am. Participants encouraged to be in corrals by 6:45 am. Music, announcements, fight songs, & mascots were all buzzing about. Gear Check and the Solutions check were a small walk from the starting corrals. The National Anthem was sung live, and then each corral was started, with maybe 5 minutes in between. No one was checking bibs to get into the corrals *We were at the start by 6:10am, and on our way to the solutions tent. By the time we got there the line was LONG. Lots of people exchanging t-shirt sizes. Since we were pissed we just went to the front and said what do we do about a corral change? The lady said she stopped checking her email after 5pm, WHAT?!?! Why have email? We told her then Laura would run in my corral, from I to F. We stomped away mad. We had submitted times by the correct date and were told we had a faster corral, we played by the rules. Also, note to self if you have a race day problem, show up the minute the tent opens.
Race / Course: Mascots were near the start and gave high fives. Race went south on the road, through McCormick place and then turned back north on the Lake Shore path, then turned back and forth to the finish. The surface was paved or asphalt, always watching for pot holes or areas to trip you up. There were 3 water and Gatorade stops, each in different paper cup. All miles were marked. The course was flat. Lots of volunteers. Not many spectators. There were medical tents. Some areas playing fight songs. Marathonfoto was on the course taking photos. *Running through the tunnel in McCormick was kinda dark, but lots of school cheers & chants echoing throughout. Spectators didn’t have easy access to the course route. The Lake Front Path is very narrow, so makes for some crowded areas. The course was boring until the last few miles along the lake.
Finish / Post Race: Finish was marked with clock and arch. Wet cloths were handed out first, then water, gatorade, bananas, pretzels and finally the medal. The finish area was a giant party. Team tents set up for post race swag, 2 beer tents, the free sausage area, ice cream & popcorn samples. A stage was set up with a broadcasting booth. There was an activity area to run a 40 yd dash, play bags, kick a field goal or toss a football. Lots of things to do after the race. *The post race party seemed to be the main focus of the race. The boring course didn’t match the buzz of the post race.
Overall: The price is good, the course is flat, yet boring, but the post race is fun. I finished with a decent time of 57:12. I was also excited to represent my Iowa Hawkeyes. I am not sure if I would run this again. Too many races have gone to the “gimmick” to get people to participate. I am old school, I like to run, so let’s make the running part enjoyable or a challenge. The race organization was lacking, having someone who actually knows what’s happening at the packet pick up would be beneficial to everyone. *If you’re wondering Tereasa’s time never registered
I also know many people who enjoyed this race, this is my opinion and my experience. I took a few days to write this, trying to separate the actual facts of the race and how I felt. I also hope I wasn’t burn out from running in Chicago the week before.
I have also loaded this recap to bibrave, you can find more reviews of this race there too.