See more of our race!
It was a double race weekend for me for June 2 and 3 with the Run For The Zoo being the second run for me.
Runners had three options for Packet Pickup: Friday or Saturday at Lincoln Park Zoo, or the morning of the race. I went down to the zoo on Saturday and the packet pickup was super quick, maybe one of the quickest I’ve ever done. There’s really no expo for this race, just your bib and race shirt. But since the location is the Zoo, you can mosey around there for a while.
On race morning, the 5k started at 7:30 and the 10k at 8:15. Parking is available at the Zoo, but you’ll need to get there super early to snag it. There’s also street parking, but that fills up super quick. I ended up parking in Lakeview and walking back to Lincoln Park for the race. Basically, if you want to park close, get there early. Roads begin closing at 4:00am and will completely close around the race at 7.
Packet pickup was super busy on race morning, enough so that some runners needed to scramble a bit to get to the start. The rest of the start area was very easy to navigate. Plenty of bathrooms, and an extremely quick and efficient gear check.
The 5k operates on a wave start, and I think the 10k did as well (but I’m not sure). Either way, the start was all very smooth.
Looking at the map, I thought the 10k looked incredibly confusing. It was filled with two out and backs, and crossing over one corner at least twice. We also passed the start line 3 times. And while it was a confusing course design, there were more than enough course marking and volunteers to make this a non issue. Major kudos to the race in this regard.
A majority of the race is run along the lakeshore path and other trails in the area. I would say the course is about 60-40 pavement and crushed gravel. We didn’t really run through the Zoo itself except for the last mile or so. This was a fun weaving area. The only negative was running over the boardwalk (which I love) but due to some rain the light before, it was VERY slick and with a lot of corners we had to be careful to not biff it.
The post race area was in the Zoo itself with plenty of food and water available. Runners did have the option of grabbing a free beer. But I needed to get on the road, so I passed this up. We did get a coupon for a free coffee at Peet’s though!
All in all I was thrilled with this race. Very well organized, and really nothing I would change. I did notice that it would be possible, with the start times, to double the 5k and 10k. This could be a fun challenge that the race could officially have in the future.