- 3 miles/5K
- Road Race
The PNC Chicago Bears 5k took place on Saturday, June 25, 2016 with an 8am start time. I believe this was the first year, as it replaced the Super Bears Shuffle which used to take place in September. The reason for the move to June was to give Bears fans an opportunity to finish on Soldier Field, which was not an option during the football season. The weather was upper 70s with 60% humidity and it was all sun. The course started on Waldron Drive, headed south (through the McCormick Place tunnel), turnaround at mile 1.3ish, and finished on Soldier Field.
+ You were able to pick up your packet and any friends/families - just show ID (they actually checked). You needed to know your bib number, but if you didn't look it up ahead of time, they had a computer to do so. The lines were organized by number (1–999, 1000–1999, up to 6000 I think).
+ $10 option VIP Race Day Packet Pick-Up - pick up your packet on race day at the Information tent from 6:30–7:45am
+ Though there was a bit of traffic, I felt it was managed well - plenty of parking in Waldron Deck, the South Lot, or the North Garage. The garage you got was dependent on what lane you turned from/in. I was directed to the South lot. Parking was $20 and you paid as you entered.
+ Gender-specific dri-fit Nike shirt
+ There were pace signs to help with proper line-up (6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm) and the start went off in waves. There were 5 different starts, about 4 minutes apart I think.
+ There was one aid station with water. Since it was hot, I just brought my own hydration, but seemed to be plenty at the stop.
+ Music on course at multiple locations.
+ Mile markers.
+ Course was well marked.
+ Super awesome getting to run under the stadium and then come out of the tunnel like the Bears do. Running on the field is pretty sweet.
+ Fantastic finisher medals.
+ Walker and family friendly. 1 hour time limit.
+ Relaxed atmosphere, fun theme. Loved seeing all of the blue and orange, fun Bears gear, etc.
+ Other than the medal, finishers received a dry towel (the kind you wet down and they cool you off), banana, bottled water, and fruit snacks.
+ Post-race party outside the field with beer, live music, food, and tents - PNC was giving out fun koozies, but they had run out by the time I got there so they were giving away blue towels with the Bears/PNC logo.
- Very crowded course. Even when you were at a wider space, like down inner Lake Shore Dr (or whatever the street is called), it was tough to get around. Unless you are super fast, I wouldn't use this race to PR due to the cross.
- Though the start had signs so people could line up according to pace, that wasn't the case. We started in the back since we are slower, and somehow still had massive amounts of people pushing through the crowd. I don't understand why faster runners don't start in the faster pace group? It gets so dangerous with the weaving in and out in tight quarters, nearly tripping people up.
- The cups used at the water station were plastic, which are a pain when people don't throw in the trash. They don't crumble nice like paper cups, so they are more dangerous when they are thrown on the ground and you are trying to run through them.
• Packet Pickup was at Road Runner Sports in Chicago on Thursday from 4–8pm and Friday 12–8pm.
• Parking was pretty hectic at packet pickup. I got lucky to pull into the lot and see someone leaving, so I got a spot pretty easily, but it was jam packed and I saw people driving around. I was there around 1pm on Friday, and wasn't expecting it to be so crowded.
• B-tag timing device (on the back of the bib)
• 1st Half Registration $45 | April 15 - May 26 at 11:59 pm > 2nd Half Registration $50 | May 27 - June 9 at 11:59 pm > Final Registration $55 | June 10 - June 21. Online registration closes on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:00pm.
• Free beer (Miller Lite) for every participant 21+
Though there were minor issues like the course being crowded and the plastic cups, I wouldn't say they put a damper on my fun. I would definitely consider doing this race again next year - nothing like finishing on the field and the SWAG was top notch. If you're a Bears fan I'd say this race is for you!