The Chicago Spring Half was held on Sunday, May 22. Start time was 7am with a wave start. The last corral was 'I', which I was in, and I crossed the start at 7:34... which meant the 10k at 7:30 started later than scheduled. The weather was sunny and started in low-60s and ended in the lower-70s I think. Event Alert System was set at green.
+ The race was well managed - lots of emails with updates.
+ Packet pickup was at Fleet Feet Old Town on Thursday, May 19 (4–8 pm), Friday, May 20 (4–8 pm), and Saturday, May 21 (10 am – 6 pm)
+ We were able to validate our parking ticket so only paid $2 to park (might have been free, but we did a stop at Starbucks afterwards.
+ Packet pickup was easy – you received an email with your bib number, go to the line with your number (ie 1–1000), show you ID, and voila. You could also get your wristband for the drink tent, but they needed to put it on you then. I declined, as I wouldn't be getting a beer, and if I were, I didn't want to have to wear the wristband. Can't say how the lines were for the beer or to get a wristband at the event. The shirts were a brighter green color with a cool design - different from other race shirts I have, which I appreciate.
+ You could pickup on behalf of other participants with a copy of their ID and confirmation email.
+ Gear Check opened at 5:30 am, 6 am start corrals open for the 13.1, gear check closed at 6:30, and the start was at 7am (from the back I couldn't hear everything, so assume it started on time, but can't say for sure).
+ Gear check, after party was at the Park at Lakeshore East, and the Start line was at Dusable Harbor.
+ Gear check re-opemed at 8 am and the Market 14 Finish Festival opened at 8:30am (gear check closes 11:45)
+ The course closed at 11:30, which would give the last corrals about 4 hours to finish.
+ The course was an out and back down the Lakefront Path (LFP) - it was a bright sunny day, so the water was glittering and the scenery was pretty. I usually get bored with the path after a few races, but coming back from winter it was a nice view.
+ On Course support was great - I saw a bunch of Race Guards as well as 10 Aid Stations with Skratch Labs Lemons + Limes (YAY!) and water. I think a few only had water, but that was ok. Mil 4/8.3 had Carb Boom! energy gels. Aid Stations also had 3 porta toilets and a medical tent.
+ We parked at the Millennium Park Garage near Lakeshore East (the pay stations weren't working, but were able to use a credit card to pay on the way out.
+ I think it you live in the city it would have been pretty easy to get there via bike or CTA.
+ Pace teams (Chicago Endurance Sports) 1:30 1:40 1:45 1:50 2:00 2:10 2:20 2:30 2:45 3:00
+ Mostly flat and fast - a few pothole-like areas when you got on the lower part of the path (when you are right next to the lake).
+ On course entertainment - DJs, bands, singers
+ Mile markers and clocks; markings for the 10k and half turnaround; plenty of cones to help navigate the course.
+ The medals have a ferris wheel that spins!
+ Finish line = medal, bottled water, wet towels, bottle of Body Armor (I got Blackout Berry - not sure if there were other flavors), bags of chips and pretzels
+ On your bib you could get 2 beers and a breakfast. Breakfast menu = egg scramble, pancakes, potatoes and sausage and there were Dole mixed fruit or pear.
+ Finish Line Festival had - pot your own flowers to bring home, Skinny Pop sample bags, race tents for charities, photos with Finisher background.
- The sponsor/name of the race is Michelob Ultra. I get it, but with all the craft breweries in the city, I'd really love for them to be the post-race option. Show some love to local Chicago companies.
I think that's my only con. Being such a nice day meant the LFP was a bit crowded, but generally it wasn't tooooo bad. The runners were very supportive and it seemed everyone was having a good time. It'll be on my list for next year. I also like that it's part of the Chicagoland Race Series Challenge, so running this and the Chicago Half in September gets you another medal for the challenge.