Cinco de Miler Chicago

Cinco de Miler Chicago

Cinco de Miler Chicago

( 19 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Chicago,
    United States
  • May
  • 5 miles/8K
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Eric Blasius

Orlando, Florida, United States
46 17
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Eric Blasius's thoughts:

What a fun and exciting race! The Cinco de Miler did not disappoint. The race was themed around Cinco de Mayo and was a great celebration for this important Mexican holiday.

Registration on the RAM Racing website was simple and easy. They asked during initial registration what my planned pace was (this is very important to me- this means they will organize corrals appropriately) and since my pace was faster than their set threshold, I was asked to provide timing proof from a prior race. Again, I was more than happy to do so. I don’t like when races make you come back at a later day or fill out a separate form for this— better to get it done right away.
Race communication was good, slowly ramping up as the race date approached. The emails included a link to their site versus just putting the info in the email (which is fine by me). The only thing I noticed was that they seemed to have copied a lot of info to these pages from their marquee event (Hot Chocolate 5k/15k). I didn’t find all of the information to pertain solely to Cinco de Miler. Not a big deal, but made me feel a lack of effort on their part.

Packet Pickup was available at various Fleet Feet Sports locations throughout Chicagoland. I’m lucky enough to live just a few miles from where the race took place and therefore had Packet Pickup close by, but a friend who lives farther away enjoyed the suburban Packet Pickup options as well. The process was very smooth and quick— you could either show a QR code from your email or just give the last name. I did the latter, as I was picking up my packet and someone else’s at the same time. They did not hassle me for picking up the other packet as well. I was in and out in less than five minutes!
The goodie bag just had my bib and race shirt. The shirt was of unknown brand, as the label had RAM Racing’s logo. It was a patterned bright orange and red design, very bright and unlike any other shirt I’ve ever gotten from a race!

Race Day was an adventure. There was a threat of bad weather, but I still stuck to my plan of arriving on time and all, but made sure everything I wore was rain-proof. Parking was very close to the race location— though it did cost $20. Knowing what I know about events on Chicago Parks District property, the parking fee is almost never able to be waived. Understandable. The race start area was laid out very well, with abundant space. Plenty of bathrooms (porta-potties). I didn’t bring anything to check at Gear Check, but I did notice it was laid out well in tents with signs organizing by bib number.
As I mentioned, there was poor weather about 45 minutes before the race. A storm moved in from the north and brought rain and lightning. Without missing a beat, the race staff quickly & efficiently moved shuffled everyone to the adjacent parking structure for safety. The rain and lightning passed after about 20 minutes and we were directed back to the race area. The winds picked up and they had to take down some of the smaller tents and signage, but I think everyone totally understood and was appreciative of all the efforts of the race staff! Even with all of that, the race started on time and they did a great job of re-energizing the crowd! The corrals were not heavily enforced, but they did a great job of handling it.
The race starts heading south beneath McCormick Place in the tunnel…which most Chicago runners know is part of many races. It’s about 3-4 city blocks long and it’s always dark, the pavement is in terrible condition— a breeding ground for sprained ankles. I understand this is the one of the only possible route for races from here, but there has got to be alternatives brainstormed… the course continues south on a closed lane of Lake Shore Drive, which is pretty cool! At the half way point, the course merges onto the Chicago LFT (Lake Front Trail) and heads back north. There were strong headwinds at this point, so many runners had to readjust their pacing plan accordingly. There were two aid stations on the course, the first with only water (which is fine with me for a five mile race) and the second had Nuun first, then water. I’m a fan of Nuun in general, but I disagree with it being used during a race. I tend to have a hard time chugging a carbonated drink while racing and would rather Gatorade Endurance instead. Again, not a big deal, but something worth noting for me. The race follows the LFT north back to the finish with a mariachi band and amazing energy from spectators!

The medal was one of the coolest parts, it was a piñata that doubles as a bottle opener! Very colorful and fun! The finish chute offered small cups of Nuun and bottled water. I would have appreciated at least a banana, but oh well. The chute then guides runners back to the start area where there were food and beer tents. The food was a plate of chips and salsa and a vegetarian tamale. I was not impressed with the chips and salsa, as they were just Tostitos brand pre-packaged items. Had they had fresh chips and salsa from a local restaurant, that would have been a nice touch. The tamale was heated in individual packaging and lacked flavor. I think the food was probably the biggest missed opportunity to wow, but perhaps they will take the feedback for next year. I just know there are so many authentic Mexican restaurants in Chicago that could knock these items out of the park! The beer was Corona and Modelo cans. It was not served cold, which was a little frustrating. Again, an easy fix for the future!

Overall, I enjoyed the whole experience and had a really fun time with friends! The whole race was so festive and fun for the whole family. Despite the weather, the race management was spectacular at prioritizing participants’ safety and communicating with everyone. I would definitely run this race again! Arriba!

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