Women Rock Chicago
Women Rock Chicago( 4 reviews )
- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
HeatherChicago, Illinois, United States
This race was held on Saturday, September 27, 2014 (originally slated for September 20) across the street from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
My biggest gripe about this race was it's lack of communication. I had registered in November, marked the day in my calendar, and didn't really look back at the site until about a month ago when I was thinking of changing from the 10k to the half marathon. To my shock, the date and location had changed! I knew location was TBD, but not the date. I never received an email alerting me to this change, and therefore had registered for a race on the day that this race had changed to. Quite frustrating. I got PLENTY of emails reminding me of price increases and to tell my friends, but never an official emailing telling me about a date change. Just an email with a subject 'Date and location change' with a short paragraph about it all would have sufficed.
Also, I knew parking wasn't great in Lincoln Park area and it would take a loooong time to get there if I took public transportation. I ended up pre-paying for parking at a parking lot about .75 miles from the race start. I'm glad I did, so I didn't have to waste time driving around looking for something. I noticed that people were also parking in the Zoo lot.
I registered early for the series (registered/raced Polar Dash, Get Lucky, Women Rock, and Monster Dash), so I had the option to have gear/bibs shipped to my house at a low rate, so I didn't need to attend the expo.
Ok, let's get to the more fun part... things I (or noticed others) liked about this race:
+ great swag - women's cut, performance, full-zip running jacket.
+ sterling silver finisher's pendant with a sapphire and diamond (instead of finisher medal).
+ you had the option to pre-pay for a medal as well as receiving the necklace (last year you could exchange necklace for medal, not sure if you could this year too).
+ option to register for 5k, 10k (chip timed), or half marathon (chip timed).
+ great post-race party: chocolate milk, bottled water, yogurt, bag with banana, Larabar, potato chips, raisin bagel, champagne (or pear moscato) in a glass flute that you get to keep.
+ could take pictures with hunky men in front of a backdrop or a Women Rock car.
+ DJ and tables to sit at in the party area.
+ Great volunteers.
Things I didn't like:
- lack of communication from race management regarding date change, location change, or about the series (you get series medal and medal holder for completing the series (had to have registered for them all at once, I believe, in order to be eligible) but had no idea when or how to get them).
- aid stations - they said there would be 4 aid stations for the 10k, but I only saw two, and it was only water (with the sun/heat, I sure hope they had sport drinks for the half marathoners).
- no corrals or wave start - the 10k and half marathon started at the same time, and the lineup was a bit of a mess — everyone just starting where ever they wanted rather than by pace. I found it incredibly congested for the entire race. People walking/running 3-4 abreast, which is poor etiquette (obviously not races fault, but annoying nonetheless). Very difficult to get around others.
- the entire course (especially paths prior to getting to lakefront) had potholes everywhere – I'm surprised I didn't hurt myself and can't imagine everyone made it out unscathed. I also had to do quite a bit of running on the grass to pass people, which isn't my favorite thing to do. The lakefront path also had a lot of cracks and holes, at least where we were running. If the course itself had a star rating, I'd give it a 2... scenery was great though, with the lake, harbor, skyline.
- at one point we got caught by cars going into a harbor parking lot, so had to stop for them. While there was someone directing traffic, drivers being cautious of runners/cyclists not stopping (so being told to go, but moving slowly or having to stop for those not stopping) made it a very slow/wasteful time for those racing.
- no clocks for mile markers, so I'd bring your GPS if you are interested in your time/pace. It seemed that the 10k markers were lacking... I only noticed mile 2 & 3, though it's possible I missed the others?
- course maps online weren't very clear - a bit confusing.
I'm usually pretty happy with this race series, but there were quite a few things this year with this race specifically that bothered me. The fact that I generally love these races is why it's so disappointing. It manages a 3 star because the swag is great. It doesn't take much to get a glowing review from me, as you can see from my high ratings on most races, but this race was lacking in a few areas. I'm on the fence about whether I'll be back again next year. I'm recommending only in hopes that next year will be better, and that usually I would definitely recommend because of swag and usual course.