For those unfamiliar with Chicago and the Soldier Field run, the Cinco de Miler was flat and fast. It starts near Soldier Field (where the Bears play), you run 2.5 miles south on Lake Shore Drive (a parallel access road and then one lane of LSD that's closed to traffic) then turn around and run straight back up the lake shore path (runners and bikers).
The race is managed by RAM racing, and it appeared they're really putting their best foot forward to make this race a big/great event. The shirt and medal were awesome! There were a lot of festivities at the start/finish area, and you definitely get a lot for the $50 fee, which I got despite signing up 5 days before the race. You can submit a time from a previous race and get put into corrals, if you're trying to go fast and don't want to weave through people. Parking was easy and abundant, and you could access the race via public transit if you don't mind walking for 15 minutes. There were also 2 water stations on the course.
For those already familiar with Chicago, it was great to find a $50 race in early May in Chicago! A 5-miler is also a great distance coming off of a spring marathon (Boston in April) and heading into a summer of shorter/faster runs (10-milers and half-marathons). For people wanting a tune-up prior to the Soldier Field 10-Miler in late May, this is perfect! The course is basically the same as the Soldier Field 10-Miler but only goes 2.5 miles south then turns back around and comes up the lake shore path.
The only negative aspects of this race, which are pretty much beyond the race's control, are the following:
* The lake shore path remains opened to the public. It was a colder/rainy morning this year, so the path wasn't busy, but if the weather had been nice, it probably would've been pretty crowded with bikers and joggers.
* The "scenery" isn't much, but you know this going into it, if you're familiar with Chicago.
* Unlike the Soldier Field 10-Miler, you don't actually ever get to access Soldier Field. You aren't really even that close to it.