Latest reviews by Kristin Shulman

(2019)
"Great Beer & a Lovely Run"
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This is a fun run on a lovely, paved trail with beer stops! Lots of beer stops! Fun to run this with friends, not take yourself too seriously and drink some great local beer. The after party is great with more beer, inexpensive local food and lots of vendors with give-a-ways. Oh and the music in 2019 was fantastic!!

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(2018)
"I Drank My Way Through a 5K!"
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Best race ever!! Running and Beer together, not one after the other. All for a great cause!

The concept for this race is simple, run and drink. In fact, the shirt for the race says "I Drank My Way Through a 5K" and that's pretty much it. The course was run on the Fox River Trail starting at Mount Saint Mary Park in St. Charles and heading towards Geneva on the scenic path through Wheeler Park and ended back at Mount Saint Mary Park for the Award Ceremony. Along the way there were 5 beer stations each offering craft beers from different breweries. The beer stations were set up so that runners could grab beers off of long tables of prefilled cups and finish the beer before leaving the station. As a mid to back of the pack runner, I did not find that the stations were impediment at all and everyone was having a blast trying out all the beers. As a bonus, we ran through the 1st station at the end of the course for a total of 6 beer stops. There was also one water stop half way through the course. Water was a nice change from the beer.

After the run, each runner was entitled to 2 full beers of their choice. If you registered early, you were given a ticket for a 3rd beer, I gave mine away as 2 full beers after the 6 beer stops would have been one too many. Besides the beer, the after party was one of the best I've attended, good food priced well (think HUGE pulled pork sandwich with homemade chips for $6), a live band, and a beautiful park location.

This race is all about the fun and supporting Project Mobility. Project Mobility is the nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of The Bike Rack in St. Charles. Their mission is to provide the freedom of mobility to children, adults and wounded soldiers with disabilities through adaptive cycling.

The swag for this race was a black cotton t-shirt with "I Drank My Way Through a 5K" and indeed I did!

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(2017)
"Loved it Again!"
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Reviewing this race for the 2nd year in a row. I still love it!! The only complaint is there were too many cars on the course this year. There were no event signs up anywhere and the drivers seemed confused. Overall, they were cautious and courteous but still would prefer streets that had a lane closed off.

Excellent volunteers, great after party with good pizza and craft beer! Love this one!

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(2017)
"Great Race to Start Off the Season!"
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This was my 5th running of the Naperville St. Paddy's 5K and as always, it did not disappoint. This is a fairly large, local race with almost 3,000 runners but it still maintains it's small town feel.

Packet Pickup is held for two days at the Naperville Running Company and is also available on race day morning. I volunteered for pickup this year and it is a very simple and quick process. The race shirt is a nice, long sleeved tech shirt with men's (crew neck) and women's (v neck) models available.

On race day, parking is available all over downtown Naperville. The race is on a Saturday and hours before the parade or normally Saturday business. With 3 big garages, and lots of street parking, parking is free and available.

It was a cold race this year, 16 degrees at race time with a wind. Yet, it didn't seem to deter too many people. The crowd was only slightly smaller than previous years. This is a great "first race" and it was my first race in 2011. Serious runners, not so serious runners, walkers and strollers are all encouraged. A good part of the crowd dresses up for St. Paddy's day and when the race takes off there is a sea of green running through Naperville. The run takes place on the parade route and is fairly flat except for one hill (up at the beginning and down at the end). The streets are totally blocked so there is no traffic to contend with and the parade Marshals do a good job of keeping the runners in the right place. There are two out and back segments so there are multiple opportunities to see the lead runners speeding through town as well as multiple opportunities for your family and friends to see you on the course. There is one water stop half way through and it seems to be enough. This year a lot of the water was frozen so it took a few seconds to get a cup but there wasn't much they could do about that!

After running the finish gate, we were each given a strand of green or gold Mardi Gras beads. This is the one thing they could improve. A cheap medal would be a nicer touch. The beads just get tossed shortly after the race.

The post race party for this race is great! There's a huge tent which helps on a cold morning. Inside the tent there were PBJ sandwiches, corned beef sandwiches, bagels and cream cheese, cookies, pizza and green beer. I think there was also coffee and hot chocolate. Outside the tent, there were a number of vendors offering freebies.

As 5Ks go, this one is a lot of fun and has a great after party!

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(2017)
"It Lives Up to Its Name!"
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The 2017 Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon (1/7/2017) lived up to its name! It was a very cold, very windy, sunny run on the Chicago Lakefront path. At the 9 AM start time, the temperature was 9 F with 13 mph winds.

Although other parking (with a fairly significant walk) can be had for much cheaper, my friends and I splurged for the $20 parking right near the start line. Although an email said that payment would be taken on the way out of the garage, the $20 was collected as cars entered because people were not expecting to pay upon entering cars backed up a bit. Although the parking was convenient, it would have been nice if the garage restrooms were open, it was so cold it was actually difficult to use the port-a-potties.

After parking, we went to the warming tent so that one of us could get their proper bib (they had changed races online the day before) and although the tent smelled heavily of propane, it was much warmer than outside and it was nice to keep our feet warm before the start of the races. On a day like this, it is easy to get super cold feet before a race starts. The heaters were great.

The half marathon started promptly at 9:00 am right after the first of the 1 mile runs which are part of the Yeti (1700 M, 10K and 5K) and Everest (1700 M, half marathon and 5K) challenges. I wish someone had pointed out to me that the Half marathon was actually longer than the Yeti challenge at the time of sign up. It would have been nice to get the four medals for actually running further than the Yeti. Oh well, my bad. The half marathon was run on the lakefront path and went 6.55 miles south down past the Science & Industry museum and then back. The sun was out and the views of the frozen lake and ponds were spectacular. A huge shout out to all the volunteers who stayed at the aid stations throughout the race and made sure that non frozen water was available. Although I didn't drink any there seemed to be plenty of Gatorade and also gels at a number of stations. Given the weather, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Aid Stations were manned.

Just as I finished the race, the 5K was taking off and if I have any complaint (and this is small) it was that I had to go looking for my medal. There wasn't anyone around handing out the medals at the finish line. After I got my medal, I went to the warming tent and got my one cup of hot chocolate (seriously, they take a ticket for hot chocolate???!!) that wasn't particularly hot. There were some granola bars and pretzels too. For a race this size, I expected better food after the race. People had run 13.1 miles and further, it would be nice to have a bit more available.

Pros: Easy parking, great jacket & hat, beautiful views of the city, heaters in the warming tent, plentiful aid stations, lots of port-a-potties, nice medal
Cons: stingy after party

I probably won't do this race again, the weather is just too iffy in Chicago in January but I highly recommend doing it at least once!

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