As an Ohio State fan - and no longer living around a lot of Buckeye fans - the BTN Big 10k race was SUCH a blast. Right off the bat at registration, you get into the theme of school spirit by selecting your school as your preference of race shirt. I also loved the option for RAM Racing to mail my packet (with my shirt and bib) to me, since I don't live in the Chicago area either.
On race day, there fans from all the B1G schools lining the streets alongside the college mascots and cheerleaders. I saw Brutus right away and grabbed a selfie. The MC did an awesome job of getting the racers pumped up before the start. It was a warm day, so any way I could keep my "school spirits" was preferred.
I was a little annoyed with feeding in the overflow on the corrals (the next corral should have waited to let the previous runners in before moving the rope forward), but it didn't feel overly crowded. The staggered race starts weren't too long between waves either. The course highlight was the City of Chicago buildings looming all around and its beautiful lakefront. The sun and humidity, however, made most of those open areas feel downright miserable.
I felt like there could have been one (or maybe even two) additional aid stations given the heat on race day. The first hydration stop wasn't until two miles in, and the volunteer told us it was the only nuun on the course (not sure why she said that; it wasn't true). I'm not a nuun fan, but I took some, considering how hot it was. I was also hoping for some cheer stations or more course entertainment in line with the college theme (like, a drum line or something?) There were a couple water slides on the course, and I'm surprised more runners weren't enjoying them; I went through the first and though awkward, I was happy to interject some silliness in my morning because I was not having a great race. To be honest, I really wanted to jump in the lake. :)
The finish line "tailgate" was beyond amazing - so many fun vendors with food (I definitely pigged out on some sausage) and drinks (free beer for 21+, which I can't have, so I gave to my husband) and live music - and, of course, cheers-ing with other fans. The finisher medal was a blank Big10 logo, and you got to customize with a special magnet that fits into the front of the medal. It was a really great touch! Each school had its own tent and photo backdrops and things for sale to support the alumni associations. However, I wish OSU had some swag like I saw at the other booths (and not just a shirt for sale).
Despite the heat, I really enjoyed my time in Chicago — based on reviews from previous years and my own experience, RAM Racing is doing great work at personalizing this event for sports fans. GO BUCKS!