- 3 miles/5K
- Road Race
I believe this was the fifth year for this race, though it was formerly known as Terrapin 5k. This was my first year racing it, and I didn't even register until Monday. Since I was so late registering, the fee was $45 + a service fee, which seemed a bit steep (though apparently not enough to prevent me from signing up!). Now that I've done it, I'd say it was a good bang for my buck.
Day of packet pickup was well organized, as was Gear Check. The race was organized by Corrals A–H with the corral each participant was in marked on their bib. There was a wave start, with maybe 2 minutes between each corral start. The post-race party was great – good food and beer, plus a bunch of bands playing, including Big Head Todd and the Monsters. I'd definitely run this race again, RAM Racing does a great job with organizing races, and their Swag is pretty sweet.
Things I liked about this race:
• race day packet pickup
• corral start
• 2 aid stations with water and gatorade
• plenty of port-o-lets that there were barely lines
• quality long-sleeved, technical half-zip in men's and women's cuts (women's were sold out when I registered, so got the men's, which I liked because it had blue instead of orange; the sizing was larger than I anticipated, but will definitely still wear)
• post-race party with amazing food (hot dogs, burgers, and veggie burgers with corn on the cob with the husk; condiments included butter, salt, ketchup, and mustard)
• Craft beer: this is what I like to see after a race! Bell's Brewery was there with three beers: Oberon, Amber Ale, and I think the third was their Pale Ale, but I can't be sure
• Reusable drawstring backpack with the logo
• Most people there to have a good time; with the rain/lightning making it unclear whether the race would be a go for sure or not, I noticed a lot of runners getting their beer and food prior to the race – loved that!
Things I disliked:
• I had to wait a bit for a burger (nothing to complain about, it was delicious and they were working hard on getting everything made – just a lot of people to accommodate).
• A lot of people were running or walking in threes or fours, making it hard to pass, which then required quite a bit of weaving, but that isn't the race organizer's fault.
• Having to run under McCormick Place – this area underneath the building is a bit hazardous. There's not enough lighting, and after the rain had made the ground slick (which is a bit uneven to begin with), I was nervous that people might fall and hurt themselves. I'm always very cautious when going under there, because I'm afraid I'll fall. I know it helps keep congestion down for both runners going out and those coming back, since it's wider than the lakefront path and brings us out onto a street until the turnaround, but it's a crummy area to have to run. However I get there's probably isn't a good workaround for it... just maybe include more lighting in there so people can see where they are going?
Overall, a great race. I really appreciated that the organizer's were taking note of the weather, and at one point had everyone go into the garage or underpass when lightning was sighted. Safety first.
Soldier Field is easy to access via CTA, and there were complimentary shuttles to Union Station after the race that ran from 8–10pm, which was a nice touch, though I didn't utilize it. Parking at Soldier Field was $20.
Definitely a fun race that I'd register for again :)