Latest reviews by Henry Lato

(2019)
"Gibbons 5k 2019"
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The Gibbons 5k was a great way to kick off the weekend. Located in Taking place on a Thursday evening in Grant Park this was a great race with a scenic course. The race benefited The Leukemia Research Foundation and honored Jim Gibbons a anchor on ABC 7 News who lost is fight to blood cancer.

Pre Race:
I arrived at the race at around 5:25 (1 hour before the start). It was a little hard to get to the race as Pokémon Go fest was going on in the other fields in Grant Park. When I got to the race there was no line for bathrooms. Then I stretched and went into my corral. I was able to warm up in the corral for the duration of time I had left until the start.

The race:
The start of the race was a little confusing. It was broadcasted on ABC 7 News. When the anchor kicked off the race none of the runners could hear her and when the start horn blew it was taken by surprise. The course started on The Lakefront Trail and then went next to the lake. At about Mile 1.5 we hit the turn around. It was a great scenic course but there was one flaw. After about mile 2 we were taken onto a narrow, uneven gravel path for a mile. You had to be careful of dips on the gravel path and make sure you don’t trip. When you get off the gravel path you are led uphill to the finish.

Post race:
After the race you were given many refreshments to rehydrate after the race. Then you were led into the post race party were they had music, food, vendors, kids activities and so much more. It was a great way to spend a Thursday night.

Overall The Gibbons 5k was a great race with scenic course that went along the lake and a great cause benefiting The Leukemia Research Foundation. It is a Chicago tradition and will definitely be back next year!

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(2019)
"North Shore Classic Half Marathon "
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The North Shore Classic Half Marathon was a great way to kick off the summer running season. Located in Highland Park IL, this was a great race located in on a great neighborhood with allot of support by its community. The race benefited Camp One Step which provides kids with pediatric cancer a chance to go to summer camp.

Packet Pickup:
I picked up my packet at Fleet Feet Deerfield. I picked it up the day before expecting a line out the door but I was pleasantly surprised. Saturday’s Packet Pickup was fast and easy. There was a bit of a line but thanks to the kind and helpful volunteers and staff it moved quickly. At Packet Pickup I received an North Shore Classic sleeveless tech tee shirt as well as my race bib. Overall Packet Pickup was well organized, fast, and easy.

Pre Race:
I arrived at the race at around 6:30 (1 hour before start time). I decided to get in the bathroom line when I got there thinking that it would get crazy long. The problem was that the 5k runners were starting at 7 so the bathroom lines were still crazy long. After waiting in line for the bathroom we stayed on the side and watched the 5k runners start. At this time we were not able to go in the corrals yet because it was 5k only. It got a little crowded as all the half marathon runners were waiting to get in the corals. After the 5k kicked off, I stretched and warmed up. Then had a sip of Nuun Hydration to stay hydrated. Then we were able to access our corral and get ready for the start of the race.

The race:
It was perfect running weather! It was about 58° and sunny. When the race started we started going downhill but had to come back up almost immediately. That happened almost the whole race. There is one thing you need to know before you do this race. IT IS HILLY! At about mile 7 you go down a very big hill towards the beach. Then you have to climb an even bigger hill. The course had excellent scenery. It went though the neighborhoods of Highland Park, by the beach and though fort Sheridan. The course was aligned with people at all 13.1 miles which made the race even more special. There were also many aid stations with Nuun Hydration and water which were in a good location, well staffed, and well organized. The race finished a few hundred yards away from where we started a was filled with even more people cheering you on to the finish.

Post Race:
After finishing you were given your North Shore Classic medal to celebrate your accomplishment. You were also given water, goodie bag with a Honey Stinger waffles, chocolate milk, a banana and other post race snacks. After the race you were escorted to the post race party. The post race party had many vendors, music, and an area to stretch and ice after your big 13.1 mile run.

Overall The North Shore Classic Half Marathon was a great hilly race with a great cause and allot of support by the community. It is a Chicago tradition and will definitely be back next year!

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(2019)
"Soldier Field 10 Mile"
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The Soldier Field 10 Mile was a great way to kick off my Memorial Day weekend. The race was produced my RAM Races who always do a great job with putting on there races and keeping them fun and organized. That is exactly what this race was with its scenic course and its location which allowed you to “finish on the 50”.

Packet Pickup:
I picked up my packet at Fleet Feet Old Town. I picked it up the Thursday before because I knew that on Friday there would be a line out the door. Thursday’s Packet Pickup was fast and easy. There was a bit of a line but thanks to the kind and helpful volunteers and staff it moved quickly. At Packet Pickup I received an SF10 tee shirt as well as my race bib. Overall Packet Pickup was well organized, fast, and easy.

Weather Updates:
Severe weather was expected on the morning of the race. RAM Races was great about keeping runners informed about what was going to happen because of the weather. We were updated about every hour about the weather the next morning but because the forecast changed every hour the race was able to go on. Luckily the forecast was wrong and there was no severe weather on race day.

Pre Race:
I arrived at the race at around 6:00 am (45 minutes before I had to get in my coral and an hour before start time) It was crowded but because the race was a Soldier Field there was allot of available parking. When I got to the race site there were long lines for restrooms. There were not enough restrooms outside the field which resulted in long lines but I later learned that there were more inside. After waiting in that line I had a little time left to stretch and warm up before entering the field were the start line and the corals were. In the field runners were able to enter in one of three gates based on there corral. Spectators were also able to enter though a separate gate. There was a long line at the gate which resulted in people almost missing the cut of Of there coral. Lucky I made it. The race stated with an opening ceremony with soldiers performing the casing of the colors ceremony, a speech from a military mother, and the national anthem. It was a great opening ceremony that honored those who served.

The Race:
The race started by immediately running out of Soldier Field and on the course. The path that led us out of the stadium was wet and slippery because of the humidity which forced everyone to take caution and start the race out a little slower. After exiting the field you were taken though the McCormick Place tunnel and then on to Lake Shore Drive South. We ran south for a few miles before going on the turn around and running back towards Soldier Field on the Lakefront Trail. The race had a scenic course with views of the city and the lake. Many ade stations were on course stocked with water, Nuun, Cliff Energy Gel, and medical services. I felt that there were a fair amount of ade stations on course but it would have been nice to have a few more as it was hot and humid. At the end of the race we were taken back into Soldier Field before “finishing on the 50”.

Post Race:
After “finishing on the 50” you were given your SF10 medal to celebrate your accomplishment. You were also given water, a Nuun tablet, and a goodie bag with a protein bar and other post race snacks. After the race you were escorted out of the field to the post race party. The post race party had many vendors, live music, and an area to stretch and ice after your 10 mile run.

Overall The Soldier Field 10 Mile was a great race. It was a well organized event and a fun way not only to kick off your Memorial Day weekend but also a great way to help and thank those who served. It was a fun race with a great course and I will definitely be back next year!

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(2019)
"Chicago Spring Half Marathon "
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The Chicago Spring Half Marathon was a great way to kick off spring! It was a well organized race with great weather. It took place at Maggie Daily Park and raised money for The Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Packet Pickup/Expo:

its packet pick/expo at Fleet Feet Sports Old Town. There was a small line but was well organized and the line moved fast. The people at packet pickup were very nice. Signing up for this race almost a year in advance, the people at packet pickup were understanding that I have gotten faster and they were able to change my corral placement with a proof of time from a previous race.

Pre Race:
Getting to the race was easy as we were able to park in the parking garage across the street. There was enough room to stretch and warm up before the race and the corrals were very organized. There was a long line for bathrooms that resulted in not a lot of time for stretching as they were strict about closing the corrals at 6:45 for a 7:00 start time.

Race:
The race started on time at 7:00. It started on Columbus but then narrowed about to The Lakefront Trail. At some points on course it got very crowded as there were half marathon runners and 10k runners running in opposite directions at about Mile 9-10. The crowdedness of the course resulted in a few minutes added to my target time but was still a fun race with a slightly hilly course with good scenery, good weather, and aid stations and clocks at every mile. The race also had photographers provided by Athlinks.

Post Race:
After the race you were given many refreshments and your finisher medal which included a spinning ferris wheel. Then you were led into the spring market which included vendors, a post race brunch, places to take photos and meet up with friends, and you even got a flower to plant in memory of your big accomplishment. Getting back to the car was a little confusing as we could not go the way we came as that was blocked off. It was a little confusing but we made it to the car.

Overall the race was great and will definitely be back next year!

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(2019)
"Cinco de Miler"
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The Cinco de Miler 2019 was a great way to celebrate Cinco de Miler. It started and finished at Montrose Harbor taking you around the parks in the area and on the lakefront trail. Because of poor weather conditions the day before there was wet mud and sand on course which was probably the only downside of the race. After you finish you get to partake in the post race fiesta which included vendors, breakfast burritos, a mechanical bull and so much more. Overall Cinco de Miler was a great race and can’t wait to run it again next year!

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