- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
- Road Race
- Event Website
Everything about this race was top notch!
I registered the Thursday before the race and almost instantly received the race weekend / participant email. It was detailed and had all of the important information.
I stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. It wasn't an official race hotel, but it was a less than 10 minute drive to the start.
Packet Pick up was in the community center with lots of parking. There were probably 25ish local vendors. For the most part it didn't interest me since I live in Chicago. I was also able to change my corral at the community center too. I made sure to ask which pacer was in which corral so I didn't end up having to weave and dodge at the beginning. (Corrals were based off of estimated finish) You could also register and change distances at the expo.
Vendors were local races, businesses, and some running gear related to get some last minute fuel.
Inside the packet was a million fliers and a nice newspaper race day participant guide. I looked through it an ripped out the page for parking to save for race morning. Also in the packet were the most random, but useful samples ever: tart cherries, shampoo, dishwasher detergent, oatmeal, rice cakes, shaving cream, York peppermint Pattie, coaster, and a box of tea bags (quite possibly more).
The gear check bag had BOXES WHERE YOU COULD WRITE YOUR BIB NUMBER ON FOR GEAR CHECK! This was genius. Kudos to whomever thought of that.
Race Morning - I arrived probably 50 minutes to the start - oops. Usually I'm a little more punctual. I couldn't figure out where the parking garage was at the performing arts center since the map didn't have an address, maybe it was a cross between it being dark outside and me in major freakout mode I couldn't find it. Que more freaking out. I drove maybe 2 blocks north and found a dirt / gravel lot and parked there. It was at most a 5 minute walk to the start / finish.
Plenty of space to warm up, do strides etc. Plenty of Porta potties line moved quickly. quick to drop my gear bag.
Race start: 4 corrals Half marathon and Full start together and break off around 3.5. Start in 90 second intervals and then the 5k/8k start 5 minutes after the last corral goes off. I asked my goal pace pacer what his race strategy was, he told me "7:30-7:38 pace never slower than 7:38 and then around 8-10 see who is left and go" Uh, that's not really a pace strategy. I ended up passing most people that were in his group and saw he came in at either 1:37 or 1:38 not exactly the 1:40... Glad I stuck with my race plan and ran by how my body was feeling.
The course was a series of hills and downhills. The inclines were long and big for this flatlander. Mostly straightaways unless you are going through the park or the neighbor hoods. The variety of scenery definitely helped not make the race boring. Crowds were thin and those that were out were not cheering unless they saw something they knew. I loved the chalk art on the side walk that some of the community members drew. *Note there is an elevation map on their website, but only an elevation map for the marathon*
Aid stations: I believe they all had port a potties and a few had medical. There were a decent amount of them.
However, I have a few gripes on the aid stations: water came first then sport drink. Most people have sport drink first and then water to wash it down. I didn't take the sport drink since I don't take it during races. Also, I saw one station was handing out gels, but there wasn't anything (or anyone) calling out that gels were available and one of the women handing them out was on her phone... Lastly, about half the volunteers were calling out what they had in their cup. The first few stations didn't say what they had only stood there with cups. I did really like the cups though! If there was one thing that needed to improve on the race it would be aid stations.
Runners received: Medal, Banana, Water, Chocolate Milk, Heat sheet, and a bag of snacks. Thank you for putting it in a bag! Inside was a granola bar, Oreos, Pringles, hummus and chip thing, maybe something else.
Post race: you could buy a shirt with all the names of the racers for the distance you ran (could also buy at expo). Free massage, I was surprised and thankful the line was short. Gear pick up was easy. Chiropractor was on site and some other vendors. I thought there was beer somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
I would definitely come down to run this half again or the full! Totally recommend it to anyone, especially if you are trying to PR.
Strava Data: https://www.strava.com/activities/952997781