- 3 miles/5K, 9 miles/15K
- Road Race
This was my second experience with the 15k and although I was unable to run due to some wisdom teeth complications, I did work the race so I was able to see the full circle and hear many opinions from the racers.
Pre-race: I registered for this race in May without any issues. There was plenty of communication leading up to race day about packet pickup, race day information and other pertinent information. The website is well-organized to get information, as well.
Expo: Expo was held at McCormick Place which is great for those that do not live in the city and need parking but I know it can be a hassle for those that live in the city because it is a hard location to get to. They did have parking validated so it ended up being $10, which was nice and much cheaper than any other parking would have been downtown. Picking up my bib and goodie bag was extremely easy, the lines were short (granted I did go Saturday night) and the booths were filled with giveaways and other cool swag. I especially liked the chocolate tasting (my mom and I both went back for seconds since they did say they needed to finish it up before the night ended). I also loved that the past jackets were on display considering it was Chicago's 10 Year Anniversary.
Race day: It was SO cold. And unfortunately, since it is such a big race, you have to get there pretty early to get into your corral (which btws, since I am used to do bigger races, it is appreciated that there are actually corrals to organize the runners but I think there could be more communication about what a corral is and other race basics because I heard a lot of people confused about it). I know there was a weather post that went out but I think it would be good to have several communications, especially mentioning the idea of throw-away clothing, for those that are newbies. Other than that, there was a great start line ceremony and the course is great minus going under McCormick - it gets very dark in there and it's definitely a safety hazard with the potholes and mancovers.
Post-race party: First of all, the finishers mug is the BOMB. Like if there's one reason to this race, it's that mug. The chocolate is so good and the dippables are amazing. Unfortunately, the post-race party is a little bit of a hike from the finish line. I don't mind it because that's how many races are but I know those first-time runners and those that are just there for fun do not enjoy that walk. It's also pretty crowded in the park but I think RAM does a great job with the signage (although there could be more going through Buckingham Fountain) within the party. Picking up the finishers mug was a bit hectic and the chocolate was clearly put in the mug in a rush (there was chocolate dripping down the sides and a little sloppy) but when you're cold and hungry, it's not the biggest deal in the world.
Swag: I loved this year's zipup! My only gripe is that it fit somewhat weird - I sized up so it wouldn't be tight but only the arms got bigger while the bodice was still tight. The thumb holes were also in a weird spot. However, I love that there are male and female versions! I'm sure the guys appreciate not getting purple zipups.
Overall: Good expo and great race with VERY professional production all around - I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for either a first time race, or one to loosen up their legs post-marathon.