It was time to conquer Marathon #5 for the “Marathon a Month” Challenge I have created for myself. The Chicagoland Spring Marathon!
Yes, 2 weeks after my last race…but this one was relatively close to home, and fit best into my schedule.
Josh, was along too, he was running the half. Also since we were near Chicago, I got to say – hey – to one of my #brf ‘s Heather. (thanks for takin the pic Josh or was it Dan?)
The 2016 event took place on Sunday May 15 in Schaumberg, IL. It was sunny and cool, about 50 degrees, and the wind picked up through the day. Race started at 7:05
Registration: Online through the website, started near $50 ish increased to race day pricing of $95. Included was a unisex tech 1/4 zip pullover, you had the choice of color; timing chip on personalized bib.
I feel when I registered, I only paid around $50-$60 dollars, which is a great price for a full marathon.
Expo/ Packet Pickup: No true expo, packet pick up was held in Hoffman Estates at a sporting good store. You could also get your packet before the race at the start. Someone else could get your packet with a signed wavier. Packet mailing was available through online registration for an additional fee.
Josh and I got our packets mailed to us. It cost $15 each, and they arrived the week before the race. The race sent an email that it was on the way. It included our pullovers, bibs and a re-usable bag.
Pre race: The race started near an office building. There was parking near the race start for free, but needed to be aware which lot you were in, as you couldn’t leave them as some were on the race course. Lots of port-o-potties were lined up, there was last minute packet pick up. The music was pumping on the loud speaker, however no speakers in the slower corrals. Participants to line up according to pace, flags marked this. There were pacers, but only up to 4:50. No National Anthem.
We stayed a hotel within a half mile of the starting line, so we just walked to the start. However the hotel was stringent on their check out times, noon….(thankfully I was able to use their pool shower when done.)
Josh and I run different paces, so he lined up near the front, being in the back I was worried I was missing an important announcement. I was also planning to run slower than the last pacer, and the course was open for 6 hours…so I just started in the back.
Something new I think I will add to my recaps, the gear I had with me, just to help me remember what works. I had my Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest pack 1, water, pretzels, fruit snacks, xx2i Hawaii1 sunglasses, Survivor Buff, B1G hat, BR short sleeve shirt, Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, Adidas 7″ shorts, Pro Compression socks, Brooks Ghost 8, and a Moving Comfort bra.
Race/ Course: The majority of the course takes part in the Busse Woods Forrest Preserve.
-Terrain – paved roads or paved bike trail. The trail in Busse Woods is narrow
-Scenery – once in the woods, there are trees, elk, water, but start/finish have not much too see unless you are into things such as the WGN radio transmitter
-elevation – FLAT!!! there are some bridges, but no steep climbs
-spectators – few and far between, unless you have family out to cheer you on
-Aid Stations – water and orange (self mix) Gatorade in the same white paper cups- no food, some gels
-Volunteers – lots on the course, including many police officers at non crucial intersections on the woods
– photographers – pictures for purchase or free to download
-mile markers – each mile marked with a yard sign
– bathrooms on course – including park bathrooms
– out and back sections – great to cheer on others, easy to cheat
My race: I had a nice time, with a few hiccups along the way. I didn’t have a huge goal, but to finish and with the cool temps that wasn’t going to be a problem. While I was happy with my 5:15 finish time, I could have done better. One hiccup was even though the paved trail in the woods was scenic, it was also not closed, it’s a forest preserve, and public so there is some strange permit thing. This meant at mile 17, I encountered a 5k, and I hit just as the walkers with strollers were taking over the entire path. I spent mile 17 & 18 navigating through this, and mostly running in the grass mush on the side, I might have wasted a lot of energy on this. Also I like orange Gatorade, but I had to ask via email to find this out as the website said “sports drink” was on course. The race was no frills, and maybe I raced that way, lol.
Finish/ Post race: Before you cross the finish line a live band is playing some rock cover tunes to greet you, then you run under the arch and cross the timing mat. A volunteer hands you a medal ( beige ribbon, silver triangle shape) and a bottle of water. Then you turn back around for the post race area. Food included – bananas, granola bars, peanuts and cookies. Cups of orange Gatorade and bottled water. There was a backdrop set up to take photos and you could listen to the band.
I finished near the back of the pack and there was still enough food for all, even saw non runners getting food. The live band made the quiet finish party – a party. The medal wasn’t really flashy, the shape itself was about the only exciting thing.
Overall: It’s a nice race, and running in the woods is a nice treat from the bustle of the Lake Front Path and McCormick Tunnel. All the volunteers were friendly. If you sign up early the price is right, and I do like the pullover.
Did you run this race? Put your thoughts on bibrave.com