BRRRRRR! Relocating recently to the area from Los Angeles, this was INSANELY cold. I think the temp was 8 degrees at start time, but the sun was shining and the winds were relatively calm. This race lives up to its name - Polar. Penguins and polar bears would feel right at home and speaking of Penguins...
- There was a team of penguins who were pacing the race and the 8:30 min/mile pacer could not have been better. She was positive, motivating and just fantastic to run with.
- The scenery was magnificent. Frozen Lake Michigan, the city skyline in the distance, over-sized art sculptures along the park path - it was beautiful the entire way.
- The Swag was pretty sweet. A polar fleece jacket to slip on over your icy running clothes at the end and a Penguin themed beanie. The finisher medal was sweet as well.
- The hot chocolate at the end. It was, well, chocolaty, and a welcome attempt at bringing my core body temperature back to normal, but it would have required a LOT more (maybe a whiskey sponsor?).
- Public transportation accessible. One train + one bus got me down stress free and in plenty of time from the suburbs.
- Picking up your packet on race day required an additional $20 charge. Race organizers need to realize that getting into a city like Chicago on a Friday for a packet pick-up is highly difficult not to mention having to find/pay for parking and battle the traffic.
- The warming tents were walled, but this required them to be set at about 5'6'" tall. Myself and at least two other runners that I saw smacked our heads on the tent ceiling frames - major pain!
- Heaters kept shutting off. One runner figured out that if they set it to "Medium" it stayed on. Need MORE heaters, and maybe signs on how to get them turned back on.
- God bless your volunteers and their dedication to trying to keep us hydrated, but there needs to be a solution to keep this liquid from freezing. An ice cube of Powerade is not very hydrating.
Overall this race was fun. There is a certain lachrymose camaraderie in knowledge that everyone is experiencing equal levels of frozen discomfort. I generally avoid paying a hefty race fee to run on a trail that I can run on for free at any time. The entire course is on a public park paths, but being from out-of- town, it turned out to be well worth the price to be with and enjoy the company of so many insane runners and the chance to say "I survived Polar Dash 2017"