See more of our race!
I'm a no-frills kind of race girl that really appreciates a race that is executed well and F^3 really lived up to that.
Registration was a breeze and although I didn't receive a lot of communication leading up to the race, about 3 weeks prior, we got multiple updates, which was great to start preparing myself for race weekend. I also really appreciated that they sent out updates from the city regarding the Women's March - we knew to expect a little extra traffic and allow more time but that we shouldn't expect any race issues because of it.
I think one of my favorite parts of F^3 was the multiple options for packet pickup. Unlike most other races, packet pickup started the weekend before the race, hosting each date at a different Fleet Feet location. This was ideal for those that lived in the suburbs as I only had to drive to Deerfield rather than downtown to get my packet. There was also the option to pick up packets the morning of the race but that always makes me a little too anxious. For those that love a big race expo, this wasn't possible with that many locations. However, that isn't something that really appeals to me so I was fine with the simple store location.
The race was on a Saturday, something that was a nice switch from your normal Sunday-morning races. It also didn't start until 10 for the half and 10:30 for the 5k which I loved! I don't love getting up early and the fact that I was able to sleep in my own bed and drive to the city instead of getting a hotel room downtown, helped save a ton of money and stress. And although it was unusually warm for a January day, should it have been cooler, it would've been nice to have those few extra hours for the world to warm up a bit.
Since the race was hosted at Soldier Field, we were able to wait inside, stay warm and have access to a ton of (nice) bathrooms. Gear check was a breeze (both dropping off and picking up) and the vendors had their booths set up the entire morning so you could peruse them pre-race if you had time.
The course did a half loop around the stadium and came out on the lakefront path. It was a relatively flat course, minus a small incline within the first quarter mile and had a pretty view of the lake the entire time. I didn't use the aid stations but they were available for both 5k and half marathoners.
The post race party was held back inside the stadium with giant screens to show the rolling finishers, which was really cool. Unfortunately, I never saw the 5k finishers go up so I didn't get to take a picture with that, which was a little sad.
To conclude, they offered one free beer at Kroll's. It was a short distance away but directions to get there weren't clear so we took a long way to get there. I do think the signage could've been a bit better in terms of getting from the parking lot to the race and from the race to the bar. It also was a bit frustrating that we had to pay $20 for parking - since Soldier Field is so far southeast, driving is the only easy way to get there even if you do live in the city, so having that comped or a bit cheaper would have been ideal.