Latest reviews by Christina Steele-Chapan

(2015)
"A Half Marathon for All!"
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Yesterday I ran the Biggest Loser Half in Chicago. It was a great experience despite the heat. First of all I really like the race because they keep the course open for so long and allows runners as well as walkers to finish the course. They also have pacers for even the walking paces and even a division for winners in the walking division. I really think the location was easy to get to at Soldier Field and parking was plentiful and easy to get into and out of. The course is beautiful on the Lakefront and I was impressed with the amount of medical staff on the course. Because it is an out and back you can cheer the winners coming in and also encourage those who are coming after you. As I finish I was really encouraged by the former season contestants how they stay excited and motivated to cheer on the winners many hours after the race began. Many people did not show up for the water stations but I was impressed how the volunteers really kept the stations going even with limited personnel. It was an honor and wonderful joy to pace this race again. Last the medal is fantastic and if you finish multiple races you can get additional medals. Even if I don't pace next year I would highly recommend this race.

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(2015)
"A Bucket List Race you will come back to every year!"
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCFEZ7KVAv8

Fort 2 Base

On August 23, 2015 I had the honor of pacing my eighth event of the year. 2015 will mark the fifth annual Fort2Base race- a monumental race through Illinois’ most impressive, historic and contemporary military command and training centers. The first Nautical Miles (11.5 miles) distance which will begin at historic Fort Sheridan and end at Naval Station Great Lakes via the spectacular Green Bay Trail.

It was an excellent event. First of all you take a bus to the start at Fort Sheridan. There are ample bathrooms, easy access to race day pick up and there are plenty of busses to take you to the start. At the end the busses also run very frequently and even though we had quite a line it moved well considering the amount of people at the race. The volunteers were great and the scenery is beautiful.

The food and the music at the end was great too. I particularly liked the gear check return because it was easy to get to after the event. The medical tent was easy and there was plenty of staff there in case there was a problem. I also loved the support of the military and as a female enjoyed the "view". Second I thought about how blessed we are as a country to have those serving both young and old keeping us free. If you are looking for a race that has variety I would highly suggest this event. It takes you through bases, bike trails and a picture perfect community. As a pacer I appreciated all the paces from 7 minute miles to 15:30 miles. That's important for all racers to have a pacer to keep their time in track with. So if you live in the Illinois, Indiana, or Wisconsin add this race to your bucket list. You will be glad you did.

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(2015)
"Hot but Fun!"
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This has been the year for pacing for me. This year I got to pace the 3 hour group with Chicago Endurance Sports and met some really incredible people along the way!

The Rock and Roll Chicago is a fantastic event that is always very hot every year. It goes through both the city and the Lakefront. It ends with a light show and the scenic tour of the museums and the start of the race. As I was waiting to pace I was greeted by many people that were out of state and doing their first half as well.

The expo was one of the best I have gone to. There were a good variety of vendors and lots of freebies. The parking at McCormick Place was discounted and that was a big bonus. It was packed nicely so you could either browse or go quickly through.

On the day of the event it was pretty easy to get to using Millennium Parking. The course is amazing with views of important landmarks such as the city view, Lakefront and many famous architecture. It kinds of gives a preview of what is to come if you do the Chicago Marathon yet takes you on the Lakefront which is not seen during the marathon.

I thought they had a good deal of food left after we finished, medical personnel were available to help and the medal was nice. If you wanted a photo it was pretty easy and I was impressed how Meb took so many pictures was available before and after the race.

The after party is nice with a band and a choice of your favorite brew or cold coffee. It was such a treat to have a ice coffee after the event!!!! Also they had a first aid tent nearby and lots of vendors and more freebies.

My only complaint is that I think they should of have more water stops at the beginning of the 10K of the race since with the heat there is more of a problem with dehydration. I also think maybe they could of done corrals with thirty seconds instead of a minute since it took over 45 minutes to start near the back. Also I had trouble with my GPS during the course because it was between lots of buildings. This also happens in other Chicago races so it is not a big deal.

I would definitely do this race again. It is a great race and a training run for the fall. It gives a feel of Chicago without the full marathon effect.

For more information contact:

http://www.runrocknroll.com/chicago/

PS. I have also done the Denver Rock and Roll twice and also the Arizona but Chicago with it's architecture and crowd support is definitely my favorite

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(2015)
"Eight is Still Great!!! "
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The Intent Duathlon is a great event held in Tinley Park Illinois. It is a two mile run, eleven mile bike ride and then a two mile run. It is an event that gives it proceeds to a great organization that helps people in need called Together We Cope. The race is a great event for both the beginner, intermediate exerciser and serious athlete. The run segments are one mile out and one mile out. The bike course is 11 miles with rolling hills and a course that goes from Oak Forest Avenue to Lincoln Highway back to Oak Forest Avenue.

I have had the opportunity to do this race for eight years. And every year I am in the midst of it and I always know I will do it again. I love the fact that I get to see things that typically drive by I get to see all close and personal on Central Avenue. I also like the fact that you get to see the elites and the ordinary athletes and give them support on their journey as well. I have seen various organization run the race such as Metlife, Race Around the World, Tri Smart and Running Excells. This year it was interesting to see the changes with Intent.

First of all they had an expo and seminars. Then at the end of the race they really had a generous after party complete with lots of food, with a very good DJ that was engaging and a award ceremony complete with a stage celebrating first, second and third place winners in five year gaps. They also had awards for teams as well.

I also liked the security of not only marking the arms but the bike and the racks that easily fit the bike. I did appreciate seeing the race director out on the course, greeting the people and making her presence known.

The bike racks with plenty of space for each bike made it easy for finding it after your run leg. They also had the places numbered. That really helped with transition.

Some things they made want to visit for next year are the following. First of all the packet pick up I thought was slow and they could of made the process faster by doing the safety forms online, during the bike portion in years past they had markers for 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 and at the finish they ran out of water.

I definitely will be back next year. It is one of those races I enjoy every summer!

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(2015)
"Volition Run Half Marathon"
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The Volition Run had its first annual run in Chicago on June 6th and it was a fantastic first year run race. It was started by Major Dan Rooney with a call to a unique mission. He was on a plane and on his plane ride he had to experience war not just from his own personal experience but from a family whose son had been killed on tour in Afghanistan. The soldier's twin brother, the reminder of his family and the young son were on board. After witnessing this event Dan knew he had a mission in life to create an organization called the Folds of Honor which gives scholarships to children and spouses of deceased and disabled soldiers in war for college. Over the span of just 7 years they have raised funds to send 8000 scholarships to children and spouses to college that might not have been able to go in all of our fifty states. This need was even more realized when he discovered that 9 out of 10 students receive no financial aid to go to college from our government and that 1.5 million solders have been killed or disabled in our recent conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

As a fighter pilot who is still active in the military he started not only this mission but also started a 5K and a Half Marathon supporting this effort.

I had the privilege this year to serve as one of the pacers in the Chicago area. It was a great day with the race starting off in Avery Field in Grant Park in Chicago and focusing on a route on the Lakefront. The course is a medium challenge with both flat, hills, and various weather conditions being near the Lakefront. The race started off on time and the volunteers were plentiful on the aid stations. Many races have their issues in their first year but this one went fantastic. Other locations of this race this year and next include: Orlando and Pensacola Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina and Boise Idaho.

Only 1% of our population serves to protect the other 99% of our population. I am honored to yesterday have served and helped runners giving to this mission.

For more information please contact.

http://www.volitionamerica.com/

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