Latest reviews by Aubrene (Bree) F

(2017)
"Pumpkins in the Park"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb pumpkins5k

Pumpkins in the Park 5k was held on Saturday October 21st at 4 in the afternoon. A side note kids races are held before the 5k where the kids get medals and swag as well.

Packet pick up was a breeze at Fleet Feet on Friday from 10-7pm which is what I took advantage of to avoid the lines on Saturday. If you do not live in the city or have Friday night plans there was packet pick up starting at 1:30-3:30 onsite at the Lincoln Park south fieldhouse.

Parking the day of was street, the Chicago History Museum or Lincoln Park Zoo (make sure if you are in the zoo lot you are far enough south to avoid extra walking.

This course due to the congestion for the first 1-1.5 miles and varied surfaces makes it hard to achieve a PR unless you are at the front of the first corral (there are only 2 corrals) the congestion the course is fairly scenic taking you in and around the park.

Post race there was Revolution Brewing beer, sprinkled covered apples, Eli's mini pumpkin pies, bottled water, Nuun, mini Cliff bars. There was also entertainment onstage, a pie eating contest, costume contest, popcorn and pumpkin painting.

By the evening of the race the free race photos were already available which is such a quick turnaround.

The only cons were the varied surfaces and congestion early on. Otherwise the race was very well organized with plenty for the whole family to do pre and post race.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Rock N Roll Chicago"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 6633

This was my 3rd Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon in Chicago. Usually I do this as part of the Remix challenge but this year I let my husband experience the challenge and I sat back to enjoy one race day.

Registration is easy, register early to take advantage of the best pricing as prices increase fast. Rock N Roll Marathon Series is great with communication, each week, we received some important details or motivation in the emails or training tips. There were plenty of notices on the packet pickup process at the Health and Fitness Expo.
The Health and Fitness Expo is always great. It was held on the far side of McCormick place. It was well organized with plenty of volunteers to guide you through the process. First you picked up your bib(s) or registered then your shirts and then off to the main expo event. Besides the usual trademark gear from the Rock N Roll series, there were plenty of vendors my kids enjoyed Geico and the posters. We took advantage of many of the vendors including Brooks, Garmin, and Sport hooks.
I typically take public transit to the race and get there a bit early. The corrals started filling up early. There were lines for the port-a-potties but they went quickly. The announcer was cheerful and energetic with great music to start off the race.
The corrals were well labeled and though I was corral 11 my pacer was not in my group and was instead in corral 10. I was fine with it as I have learned to self pace.
The course itself is very similar to portions of the Shamrock Shuffle and many of the other Chicago races around Grant Park. The best part of experience was the addition of the the wear blue to remember mile. The photos of soldiers sacrifices and the tons of American Flags being held by volunteers was was very emotional and inspiring! The course and course entertainment gets sparse going south and could be beefed up in future races. It was great to have a cowbell corner of friends at 16th street. I also like the down and back around 31st where you may see some of your friends or at least high five someone. While I like the lights of McCormick Place tunnel it is very unsafe and dark. The surface is not flat with multiple pot holes that I saw people get injured on. I did not see on the course medical support except at aid stations which one would hope you could get to if you needed it.
The finish line had tons of crowd support which was a great way to end a half marathon. The post race goodies were plentiful like cold towels (RNR labeled), chocolate milk, Gatorade, bananas, were great. You can also take a picture right away if you do not want to head to the main stage. In the main stage area you can get beer and enjoy the entertainment. The medal was a great addition of the bean!
I am happy with this race but would love more entertainment south on the course. I think I may register for one of the other races in the series to see how it compares. Overall I would do this race again.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Best All Female Sprint Triathlon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 6211

This race is a great starter race for a triathlon distance. This year the sign up was much later than anticipated due to trying to obtain permits (or so I heard from race staff). The swag in the past has been fantastic with bike tank jerseys and possible skirts (for early registration). This year it was cotton tanks and tech tanks from last year's 5k/10k Chicago race. I wish the swag was like previous years. I am confident that the swag and race registration for next year will be better as the race was already open for early registration. The one nice option for this race is relay. If you are not a swimmer, biker or runner you can find someone that is and form an awesome team.

The expo is nice but not large and is held outdoors at the Naperville Settlement which is fun to stroll through. Dave Kappas does an excellent job as a race announcer. He keeps everyone calm as there are many first time athletes at this event. He is able to get the information you need to know in a timely fashion.

Race day parking is easy and free. To score the best lots you have to arrive early (5:30ish) but there are still open spots up until closing of the transition area. The volunteers and race staff do an excellent job of answering any questions and making sure you know where to go.

The swim is in the quarry and varies from the August triathlon with a longer distance and more down and back turns. The past two years the cancer survivors and relay teams go first followed by youngest to oldest age groups. Fearful of the swim? There are swim angels if you want extra support along the way. You can swim any stroke and even use the lanes (if you really need to rest). Snorkels are also approved for use during the swim. The shallow portions of the swim turns most people stand and run until they cannot touch again. This is one of the most swim friendly triathlons if you are fearful of this portion.

The bike seems like it would be easy but every year that I have done the bike it seems like there are small hills that feel giant and wind, lots of wind. You do the loop twice and many families come out to cheer. Doing the loop you can also see friends or the top athletes going by. There are groups that can assist you if something happens to your bike during the race. This year it was Livegrit. You do need to have at least one tube with you if you were to get a flat so they can help you out.

The run is partially through the river walk shaded and beautiful. The other portion is around homes with families out to cheer or provide sprinklers to help cool you off. Race Guards are also present along the course in case you need medial assist which could be as simple as help with chafing, fuel or a muscle cramp.

The after party is a highlight with great food, free samples, music and free race pictures. The medals are nice with a charm you could put onto a necklace or key-chain if you wanted.
Overall I plan on doing this race again next year and anticipate it will be even better than this year.

Loading Comments... Ajax loader

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Great Charity Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 6281

I had never heard about this race but it came across my email feed and a few things stood out to me. The proceeds go to families of fallen either police or firefighters. It was family run with family and neighborhood support. This race is very family friendly, and walker friendly with a nice post meal brunch at the end. There are also prizes for top male and female runners (though I do not fall into this category). You can do this race as a virtual runner as well. The key to closing the deal was swag. Not only is the race very comparable in price to other 5k's with most of the money going to charity but it also has great bling. For my registration I not only got a 3/4 tech blend zip long sleeved shirt (with the Chicago stars on the arms) but our medal was a fire fighter badge; this year the medal was honoring Lt. Patrick Hannon.
For packet pick up there was an option to pick up at the local Running Excels store or same day packet pick up. We thought we were going to have to pick up the day of the race but my husband was able to get to the running store and had a super easy time with packet pick up and parking. On race day I was nervous about parking since there was not much information in regards to parking on the website. One of the event directors assured us that there would be ample street parking near the church which was the start and finish of the race and she was correct. We were able to park less than 1/4 block from the start/finish line. There was great music to start us off and very emotional tributes by the family benefiting from this year's proceeds.
This 5 k is great if you are looking for a PR since there are not many people running it, as of now. The younger male category was pretty stacked so you might be in for a challenge in that category. I was pacing a first time 5k runner who was 6 years old and my husband paced our son so no PR's for us. This route does have some hills and turns but beautiful historic homes with lots of old trees (think summer shade). I only saw one aid station with water only but this is a very small race so I was not anticipating the aid support of larger races.
The finish was great there was a stand to take your pictures at and post race free goodies to go along with the brunch. My son and his friend loved this race and our friends who came with us also said they will be doing this race again. We cannot wait to sign up for next year.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Good for Some Disorganized for others"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb fullsizerender  7

I have never run this race before but decided it was time. The addition of the medal with world champions written on it definitely persuaded me, as well as the proceeds going to cubs charities. The packet pickup was somewhat organized but they had a hard time sorting and finding our bibs. Once we had them we were good to go. Now there was an extra tab on our bibs that would have been great to know was important. This tab was the only way to collect your medal as the walkers did not get medals. I almost tore this off in advance but then thought better of it and decided to pin it under. I am glad I did not tear it off or I would not have gotten my medal. Again it would have been great if the tab was maybe labeled medal.
We used public transit as parking around Wrigley was almost impossible. We got there super early and took advantage of the time to warm up and take pics with Clark the Cubs Mascot who was out with his ring bling. We were also able to be right at the front of the race start since there are no corrals. When the race started my husband and I ran our own races and boy was this race crowded fast. This was maybe the first year the race has been sold out so I am not sure how many participants there were. I was thinking this would be a flat course but there were hills and turns along the way. The best park of the course is the concourse by far. Since we were early in the start we also crossed the finish early. We were able to tear off our tabs hand them in get the medal and move on to food and pictures. When we had finished with that the race was backed up blocks with people waiting to get across the finish line due to the medal and tab issue. We could see and hear so many runners that were frustrated, walkers that also wanted a medal etc. I really liked this race but hope in the future this portion would be sorted out and better managed.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.