Soldier Field 10 Mile was held on Saturday, May 27 with a 7am start for the first wave/corrals. I forgot to do my usual screenshot of the weather because race morning was a bit hectic, but it was sunny and I think around 70 when we started, and maybe 70% humidity? I know it was humid because my sunglasses that never fog got a little foggy from humidity/sweat, which I was pouring. My entire tank was basically soaked by the finish.
This was my fourth year running this race, and I was very disappointed in it this year. There was a lack of communication overall which is unusual for a RAM Racing event. You guys know I rarely have negative things to say about a race, so something really has to be up for me to say I’m disappointed, because I’m generally very easy to please. I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, but I need to be honest about my experience.
+ Registration is easy; race uses enmotive and super easy if you have an account. Log in, register, most of your info is already saved and you pick your estimated pace and swag size and enter emergency contact. After the fact, you can add packet mailing to your account up to 3 weeks prior for $15.
+ Multiple days and locations for packet pickup (Fleet Feet Deerfield on Thursday, May 18 from 3–6pm; FITT-RX on Saturday, May 20 from 10am–3pm; Fleet Feet Old Town Wednesday 3–8, Thursday and Friday 10am–8pm. Due to the size of the event, no race day is available. You can pay $15 up to three weeks our for packet mailing. Friends or family can pick up for you - I had to send my mom on her own to grab mine because I was too busy with work to go and she said she was in and out (on Thursday) with no trouble.s
+ Free parking at SF North Garage (usually at least $19–22). You could only enter it coming from the north, since a lot of the streets were blocked off for the race - you turn east onto McFetridge Drive then south on Museum Campus Drive and then west into the parking garage entrance… there is also an entrance on McFetridge Drive, and I’m not sure why that wasn’t open, as it had been in previous years, but you had to enter on Museum Campus.
+ Considering the amount of runners, parking didn’t take too long. It was a little backed up on LSD, on McFetridge Drive, Museum Campus Drive, but they didn’t have the parking gates down, so the cars could more quickly move through. It took us maybe 10–15 minutes from the back up on LSD to get into the garage. I did hear others had some problems with the parking situation, but when I got there around 6:30 it wasn’t too awful.
+ I love the 10 mile distance – it’s unique and there aren’t a ton of races in the area throughout the year, so it’s nice to have something other than a half marathon.
+ Finishing on the field is always cool. No concert this year to mess that up, you actually ran on the field haha.
+ Aid stations were well stocked with water and Nuun and plenty of upbeat volunteers.
+ I think there were about 4 or 5 aid stations, which I think is good for 10 miles. It was really hot out, and since I didn’t have my own pack to drink when I needed, I did find myself running and dreaming of the next aid station.
+ Course was well marked, DJ at the turn around point and a little ramp to get up the curb, run over some grass, to get from what I call inner LSD to LFP.
+ The medal design had meaning and was pretty cool.
+ Awesome getting your medal from a member of the military. I made sure to thank everyone I saw in uniform.
+ From what I hear there was a cool pre-race ceremony with Folds of Honor, one of the charities for the race (the other was SALUTE, INC). I missed it because I had to run back to the car to drop off my pack and then run back to get into my corral.
+ Receive bottled water at finish on the field, can grab cups of Nuun on your way out to the party.
+ Post-race snacks included a small Rice Krispy treat, mini pretzels, Dole fruit cup with a plastic spoon, CLIF Whey Protein Bar, and Piroucrisp all in a plastic bag (I miss the re-usable bags we got three years ago!), though I appreciate getting it all in a bag and not in pieces and having to juggle it all.
- Post-race party is held on the green outside the stadium and is always fun. Runners hang around to listen to the band and drink their beer. I think you could buy more beer if you wanted, and there was a food stand where you could purchase some grub. It was a beautiful, albeit hot, day, so it's nice to see so many runners hanging out and enjoying the day.
- Lack of information in the participant guide. It had all waves beginning at 7:00am and needing to be in them at 6:45. Turned out, the third Wave, white, didn’t begin going through corrals until 7:30
- HUGE lack of communication between the race and security. Since it started in the stadium this year, they had security to get in. Every single security guard told my mom and I we couldn’t bring out hydration packs in with us, yet they didn’t seem to care about the runners with fanny packs or fuel belts filled to the brim (they had more stuff in theirs than I had in my pack). I’ll also add that they were very rude about it, too. I’m a nice person and I am as polite as can be, so to get rude responses back ruffled my feathers. Especially when they let in all of the stuffed belts and didn’t bat an eyelash. The race later said we could have used them if we entered at Gate 6. Well, no one seemed to know that, as no one would allow us in. I’m totally fine getting my bags searched, it happens at all of the runDisney races. The problem was the lack of communication. If they had added it to the participant guide, we would have known to enter at Gate 6, but instead, it said all runners must enter at Gate 0. I had read no where, emails or the website or the participant guide, that there would be any issue with having a hydration pack. So, we had to leave them in the car and I had to carry my dang phone the entire race. And go without any electrolytes on a hot, humid, sweaty run. Part of the reason I brought my pack was because I cannot stand the new Nuun formula and wanted my own electrolyte mix. Anyway, I would suggest adding signage that says runners with packs/belts enter at whatever gate spectators are going through (bag search and metal detectors) and runners without that go through gate 0. Add that info to an email, to the participant guide, and to make sure all of the workers and volunteers know it.
- Part of my issue with Nuun is that you can’t get a bottle of it at the finish line, just another small cup filled. And so after sweaty everything out during the run, I had no way to replenish my electrolytes lost. I know some people hate Gatorade, but at least the races that have it give you a bottle at the end. And I just add more water to it so it isn’t so sweet.
- I personally didn’t like starting in the stadium. It was too crowded and a bit of a mess. I heard complaints on this from many friends. I also felt it took away from the fun/excitement of finishing in the stadium. Outside waves were set up better with much more space. I also found that the course was too narrow for too long, which kept congestion high until McCormick Place. We were in a back corral and couldn’t even really run across the start line with the amount of people there.
- The mile markers were WAY off. Mile 4 was almost a half mile after we actually hit mile 4. I’m used to my watch being off by a little, but it was dead on for markers on mile 1, 2, and the 5k, so when I was at 4.5 when we hit the 4 flag I knew something was wrong. I read other reviews making comments that the mile markers were off as well, so I know it wasn’t just me.
- No clocks at any of the mile markers, which I feel is usually standard at a RAM Racing event.
- The shirt quality seems cheap and I personally wasn’t a fan of the design (or maybe I should say the fabric which was a blue camouflage - though I do understand why they chose it). It is tech material, but it feels heavy and uncomfortable to the touch. Last year was Under Armor and was way better.
- You know how I feel about post-race beer; I want it to be local and good. Not even 312 this year, but Budweiser. No thanks. I tired to give my ticket away and no one wanted it haha. It would be amazing if a big race like this would support a local brewery such as Revolution or Half Acre.
The race sent out a survey immediately after the race, which I filled out, so it gives me hope that they will listen to the complaints/concerns of the runners and adjust for next year. I know it was an adjustment period as RAM took over from Fleet Feet (I think they worked together last year, but FF was still in charge, as their name is on the race shirt). So, their first year in control, I’ll give them another chance next year and see how it goes. They are usually very receptive to what the runners have to say, so I have hope. I'm only recommending it because I have faith that these problems will be remedied in 2018. I'll let ya'll know ;)