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For the second year in a row, I made the 2 hour drive from my home to Chicago for the F3 Half Marathon. I really like this race because it is tough to find a good race, that is longer than a 5k in the winter. This race offers a great opportunity to get out to do a longer race when they are just hard to come by and this race is a very well operated race. If you were not up to running a half marathon, there was also a 5k option as well. weather for the race this year was fantastic! It was in the mid 40s, light wind, and sunny. Packet Pickup To pick up your packet, you had several options in the Chicago area at local running stores. If you were coming from out of town on race day, you could chose to pick up your packet on race day for an additional charge. Lucky for me, I have great friends in Chicago who will pick up my packet for me. Thanks for the help once again Heather. Race Shirt This years race shirt was, as I can best describe as a long sleeve t shirt that is a hoodie. I like the look of it, but overall, I liked last years quarter zip better. This years shirt was also 63% polyester, 35% cotton. Its a nice shirt, but I just prefer last years better. Pre Race Parking was located right next to Soldier Field. Price for parking was $20. Lines to get into the parking garage was never long and was easy to get in quickly. On a really cold race day, the F3 Half Marathon has quiet a nice set up. Runners get to take advantage of the United Club located inside Soldier Field. Inside was race day packet pickup, gear check, sponsors table, local races, and a place to use a foam roller pre race to get stretched out and ready to race. There was also plenty of music being played. About 10 minutes before the races, the announcer stated that it was time for runners to head outside and get into their corrals.the United Club Race Runners headed out to the corrals and were expect to line up according to their pace. Pace signs and pacers were lined up to help runners know where to start. From what I can tell, most runners were very respectful and lined up where they should. The National Anthem was played prior to the start and the first wave was sent off with the sound of an air horn. I am not sure how many waves there were but they were not too far apart. The course is easy to follow, it is basically an out an back route with a short loop around Soldier Field added at the beginning. Once you make it around Soldier Field, the rest of the course is on the Lake Front Path and you don't cross a single street after that. There are a couple of hills on the course when it comes to going over or under local streets. The only complaint I have about the course was where construction was being done on the Lake Front Path and we had to cross over to another path and went through the mud. This was out of the race's hands and from what I understand, construction should be completed before the 2019 race. There were 7 total aid stations, all with water, KRA sports drink and medical. 2 aid stations will have CLIF Shot Bloks (Miles 6 and 8). Aid stations will be located at Mile 1, 2.5, 3.5, 6, 8, 10.5, and 11.5. I didn't drink any of the sports drink as I had never had it before but maybe I should have given it a try. The aid stations were very well staffed with plenty of volunteers. When you crossed the finish line, a medal was placed around your neck. Right as you are walking down the finish area, you are able to grab water, KRA energy drink, and granola bars. I did grab a sports drink to try later since I did not have one during the race. A sponsor was there handing out reusable bags to give to runners for all their food. A nice touch especailly since runners had to walk a quarter mile from the finish back to the United Club following the race. Post Race Post race, you could go back into the United Club and get warm as well as stretch out. There was no additional food in the United Club. There was also a wall that results were projected on so you could check out your finishing time and place. You could also make your way over to the result table to get a print out of the results. The United Club was a great place to meet up with friends after the race. One last thing is that you could get a finishers photo and it would be made into a magnet for free.the free magnet Overall Thoughts This is a race that I really enjoy. Once again, its a great opportunity to get a longer race in during the winter months and the city of Chicago does a great job of keeping the Lake Front Path clear of snow and ice. While it was warm, There had been recent snow fall and the paths were very clear. The race always has great swag in the form of shirts and medals. This is a race that I would recommend to any local Chicago or even Northern Indiana Runners. As runners were finishing, I heard of runners coming from Central Indiana, so the word is getting out about this race. This was the ninth running of this event and this year had record numbers of registered runners.