- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
I've been wanting to try out the Rock N Roll series for quite some time since they looked fun and the medals were pretty cool looking! I was happy to get into the Chicago Half thanks to BibRave and run with my fellow pros Mark, Lisa, and Heather!
Registration is a piece of cake and Rock N Roll Marathon Series is definitely on top of things with their communication via emails. Every week, we received some important details or motivation in the emails about parking, sight seeing, hydration, or training tips. There were plenty of notices on the packet pickup process at the Health and Fitness Expo.
The Health and Fitness Expo was amazing. It's very similar to the Chicago Marathon expo but a little smaller. It was well organized with plenty of volunteers to guide you through the process. The signage was big and bright as you entered the expo and the order of bib pickup and t-shirts was well organized. Then, you were directed to the shopping area with so much to offer. Besides the usual trademark gear from the Rock N Roll series, there were plenty of vendors in the health and fitness industry selling their goods or services.
As for the race itself, everything is so bright and bold for this series! I always arrive way early to any of my races since I'm usually paranoid that I'll be late. It gives me time to wake up, stretch a little, and take in the sights. I walked around the start and finish lines as well as some of the post race festivities area. The energy and excitement was pretty prevalent and I awaited the arrival of my fellow BibRave Pros for our pictures and chatting. None of us were in the same corrals but we always manage to meet up beforehand to motivate each other and share our goals.
The corrals were well labeled though I didn't see any pacers for my corral. I was in Corral 7 which is one of the early ones to start and it was exciting to hear the first few corrals begin their race! The announcer did an amazing job to scream and motivate the runners during the early morning hours. This gave the following corrals time to get their energy pumping and cattle herd towards that awesome starting line.
The course itself is very similar to many of the pristine Chicago races around Grant Park. The best part of experience was by far, Adams Street! The photos of soldiers sacrifices and the tons of American Flags being held by volunteers was utterly awe inspiring. It definitely got me pumped up! The energy was pretty heavy through the Loop by fans and their motivating and sometimes funny signage! As the course headed south for a stretch, the crowd wasn't as dense as near the finish but still pleasant. The only part of the course I disliked was the McCormick Place tunnel. Most of the races go through it and I just think it's really an unsafe and unappealing section for any race. I did enjoy the plethora of bands along the course that really did a great job to energize us as we passed by. Oh, the cold wet sponges handed out in the later miles of the race hit the nail on the head!
The finish line as with any race, is big and bold with tons of crowd support. The crowds roar could be heard a mile away and seeing that finish line from a ways back was exciting. Crossing the finish line to huge crowds cheering you on is absolutely incredible. The post race goodies like the cold chocolate milk and ice cold towels were perfect!! The medal of course was top notch and I had to follow the crowds to get a photo of me, the medal, and the real Bean! The crowds were pretty heavy at the post race festival with cold beer and a great ambience of music!
All in all, I'm very happy with the experience I had in this race and the Rock N Roll Marathon Series really does a good job with high energy and going all out with music and runner treatment. I hope to run a few more of the series in other big cities!