- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The Chicago Half Marathon took place on Sunday, September 24 with a 7am race start for the half marathon and 7:45 for the 5k. Weather was calling for extremely hot temps, which meant the race was starting at EAS yellow (eventually going to red during the race). I think temps started in the 70s with humidity at mid-70s eventually hitting 80 something degrees (and quite sunny).
+ The expo was held at Soldier Field on Friday and Saturday. They only charged $5 for parking. If you know Chicago parking prices, you know that's a steal. I really appreciated that.
+ The expo had plenty of vendors and the official merchandise is always stacked.
+ Even though the weather that time didn't suit them, I really liked the long sleeve shirt for the half marathon. HM shirts were gender-specific tech, orange and blue (mimicking Bears colors) and the 5k were gender specific tech, red (and honoring the Chicago Fire Department).
+ The race offers free shuttle service that you can select location for during registration or even leading up to the event if you missed it or need to change from your initial choice.
+ The race was great at updating runners about the weather, hydration tips, how to stay cool, and letting us know what precautions they were taking which included having more ice on course and misting stations, and fans.
+ The race also offered the option to drop to the 5k with very little hassle. They sent out an email and posted on social media that all you had to do was line up with the 5k and you'd still receive your medal (and challenge medal if you ran Chicago Spring Half). They took runner safety seriously and made it easy for runners to change distances if they felt weather would be too much for them.
+ Corrals A–N for the half marathon, and it looked like it was a rolling start, so even the last corral was going by 7:15 or so.
+ Plenty of portapotties around the race site.
+ Since the course is on the streets and the LSD, it means less congestion and allowed for this rolling start.
+ Plenty of aid stations and they were stocked with enough water, cups, and Gatorade.
+ Race Guards on the course helping runners when needed.
+ I really like the course (despite the lack of shade once on LSD) – it's different from any other race in Chicago.
+ At the finish line you received your half marathon medal, ice cold and wet towels, they were fans and misting stations, popsicles, pretzels, potato chips, bananas, bottled water and Gatorade
+ In order to get your challenge medal, you had to go to a tent and they would reference your finisher medal, your bib (different ones for those that were registered for the challenge), and then you'd get it.
+ The medals for both the half and the challenge were HUGE. The medals for the two races plus the challenge were designed to be a connecting set. Pretty neat.
+ Post-race party includes a free beer (Lagunitas this year - awesome!) and a free slice of pizza. Both were redeemed via a ticket from your bib.
+ Free photo downloads provided by Athlinks.
Can't think of anything...
I've been running this race for I think six years now, and I'll keep coming back. Despite the weather, race management handled it very well and kept runner safety their top priority. Though I didn't do very well and the heat was awful, getting through that finish line made me feel accomplished. Plus, my feeling awful in the heat this year was a better finish time than when I felt awful in previous years, so that's silver lining, right? hah.