This is a nice, fairly small race on the southside of Chicago – about 3,500 runners. The course takes your runs through the center of the beautiful, residential Ridge Historic District (with some really lovely old homes) and features the challenge of Chicago’s highest hill. There is plenty of parking on residential streets, you just have to walk a few blocks to the start, usually. The community support for this race is great – so many homeowners out cheering, spraying people with a hose, or having sprinklers set up to run through (Memorial Day weekend is generally VERY warm and humid). I always appreciate the kindness of these people, and their sprinklers! The race starts off a little downhill, then there's one steep hill around mile 1.75, then a nice downhill around mile 2.25, and then the last bit to the finish line is at a slight incline. I believe there were two water stations for the 5k – not sure what was available for the 10K.
Things I like about this race:
• Dry-tech shirt for 5k and 10k participants, new design every year
• Community support/cheering
• Friendly environment
• B-chip technology (I personally prefer the chip on the bib, versus the D-tag)
• Sponges soaked in ice cold water at the finish
• Wide course (but if you are slower, when the faster runners are coming back to the finish, you'll need to move over to the left to let them through... that's at about the first/last .25 of a mile or so)
• Nice views of historical homes
• Nice variety of post-race food/drinks
• Ice cream and hot dogs for sale
• The shirt sizes ran large
• No wave start or pace line-up – it's not a huge race, but starting everyone at once always creates a bit of a jumble up until the first mile or so, plus, there's no way to really know where you should line up because there aren't any pace signs.
You can read my recap here: http://heatherrunsthirteenpointone.blogspot.com/2014/08/ridge-run-5k.html