- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
First off let me say I am a HUGE fan of the RnR series of races. I also know that every race is at the mercy of the weather and terrain as set out by city officials. With all that in mind - this race was by far my worst 1/2 Marathon ever and the weather was shockingly bad. I wasn't prepared for the extremely high temperatures nor the high humidity levels - and I suspect RnR and all of Chicago wasn't either.
The expo was ho-hum. I think this is more a reflection of RnR as a whole rather than just Chicago. The expos have been getting smaller and smaller with more smaller booths from local businesses. The SWAG shirts for this race were pretty nice - I'm always hoping for more SWAG than just a shirt though.
Transportation - I stayed in a hotel nearby so was able to walk to the start and walk home from the finish. I did hear from some others that the shuttle dropped them off about a mile plus from the start line of the 1/2. We did have someone in our group doing the 10K and that start line was 2 miles from the start of the 1/2 - transportation there was also a challenge. She was able to take a cab from the hotel
The course - Running though the downtown area was nice - you got to see a lot of sights you wouldn't see just visiting for a weekend. I am really not a big fan of a lot of turning and zig sagging through city streets but I did like crossing over the river several times. One bridge didn't have the grating filled in and I think this causes some panic for some runners. The downtown area also really messed up my Garmin and several people in my group had the same issue - everyone got put into lap mode. The heat downtown was also just unbearable - the buildings offered no breeze to get through and it just felt like an oven there. When I saw the course was going to double back on itself around the hospital I was initially irritated. I really don't like the switchbacks - feels like a cop-out. However, this was by far the best part of the race. Everyone was so friendly, hand slapping, and cheering - I think everyone felt like a rock star during this mile. I got to see all my friends and where they were in the race. Nearly every face was a friendly one - a lady even stopped me to take a pic. Why I don't know but it was exhilarating! All streets were locked down very well and I never felt like, even though I was running through a major downtown area and city that I was in danger of being hit by a car. Trust me this is not always the case. However, we did have to run against traffic on a section of highway and an off ramp - no bueno ever!
I do commend RnR for adding water stations along the course - they knew the heat would be a problem. I always use water stations to count my place in the race and I knew there were 8 stops. I'm pretty sure there ended up being 11. That's the good. The bad is that several of the water stations were severely under staffed. I came up on one and they were pouring water out of a hose cup by cup for each runner as we stood in line.
The most shocking negative I have is that there were only 3 bands along the entire course. Come on RnR get it together! That's your entire theme and instead of bands in places we got clowns on stilts. SMH!.
The post race party was one of the most organized due to the tremendous amount of space they had in the park. There were plenty of post race snacks - even for a late comer like me :-).
All in all if you get lucky enough to get some good weather I would recommend the RnR Chicago race but be prepared for the heat and humidity in July.