Latest reviews by Kim Maves
This is my second time running F3 Half Marathon.
-Packet pick up started an entire week before the race. I was able to go to Fleet Feet Old Town a week before to get my bib. I was traveling the entire week before the race and was excited to see this option. I believe there was also packet mailing for a fee.
-Packet pick up throughout various parts of the suburbs too
-I love the 1/4 zip shirt! Hint: if you have long arms like I do, I washed it and hung it to dry and the sleeves stretched out just enough for me.
-Reuseable bag as the gear check bag or you can bring your own. Gear check was super simple. There didn't seem to be a bottle neck as in 2015.
-Parking at Soldier Field was easy. We got there early so didn't deal with any backing up of traffic.
-You do have to pay to park, but considering an Uber would be double that there and back it's worth it.
-Pre race is indoors in the United Club
-Start line has self seed and staggered corrals. That was really nice to limit the cluster on the LFT. I think they went off every 2 minutes. I'm not sure how they did the 5k.
-Miles were clearly marked with the clock.
-Course was clear for the most part with ice, those icy spots were salted and coned off.
-Not the race's fault but beware of the pot holes closer to the south end of the path.
-Post race stretching and vendors to talk to. An indoor race village if you will
-After party was at Kroll's. I was surprised to not see any post race beer in the United Center, I didn't want any, so not a big deal. I am sure it has to do with cost and permitting.
-Post race food was banana, hummus and chips, bagels (FULL SIZE!), water and a full size Muscle Milk. I grabbed a Muscle Milk and gave to a friend.
-Free race pics post race
-Gatorade, water, and gatorade chews on course
-At first when I grabbed the water cup I thought, "this cup is too big, too stiff!" However, it was so easy to pinch that I was able to run a race without drenching myself in water.
-Top 5 received a plaque and certificate for an Asics gift card. Age group winners received ribbons
-If you like large medals, this is a great race for it! They are always fun and different
-There could have been one more water station. They were a little spaced out and an extra would have been great!
Other than that everything went well! Volunteers were awesome and the charity really connected with the race (Garden Center Services).
Can't wait to run this again next year!
First off, this race was cancelled for 2016
I don't blame the race management for cancelling. I'm not upset in the least There were undoubtably a lot of people coming in from the suburbs and the forecast wasn't that great. They had to be conscious of those who were driving in to run, volunteer, and work. Considering parking and road conditions it would have been a nightmare. I was planning on leaving my house at 7am for a 9am race that would normally take me 20 minutes to get to. I believe the majority of this race runs on the inner path too, which isn't a priority for snow clearance and often gets iced over.
The course was similar to the years past on a map. Nothing special, mainly lakefront. I cannot comment on the condition of the course / mud / ice / salt.
Aid stations were set up with water and Nuun like all RAM Races. I prefer Nuun at my races over other sport drink. Also, it is a nice touch to have Nuun in a 5k the majority that I have ran only have water. I grab something 50% off the time and would 90% of the time prefer a sport drink in a 5k.
Packet pick up at Fleet Feet was easy. I was able to pick up someone else's packet. Although I am getting annoyed with RAM's corral system. I have been put into B for the last two races and they mentioned that they look at previous RAM races on my account and with a SF10 pace of 7:47 I should in theory be placed into A, I ran into the same thing with Mag Mile 5k. If I was trying to PR I would have complained. I had been sick all week with a sinus infection, so wasn't planning on PR.
Swag isn't a driver for me to do races, however when the swag was initially announced and I had signed up, it was a pair of sweatpants. sweet! I can always use more, plus they are useful. About a month before the race they started posting this okay looking Red Beanie. Which ended up being horrible quality, and mine was already pilling out of the packaging. If I had paid for the race because of the sweatpants and not received an entry through BibRave I would have felt even more deceived and like a bait and switch.
Another con is it was downgraded to a 5k from an 8k. I read the reasoning was the weather causes them to change it to a 5k often.
On the plus side, free donut from Do Rite with your bib for a week and a discount for a future RAM Race.
Honestly, had the race taken place I probably still wouldn't run it next year. Hate to write not the best review, but these are my honest thoughts!
This is my 4th Drumstick Dash. Modified 2015 post.
SWAG: Each participant receives a LONG SLEEVE COTTON T! I am a huge fan of long sleeve cotton t-shirts, especially in winter. This year was blue. Also included in packet pickup bag is a Bobble Head from the 2016 Brewers season. (first 3000)
Aid Stations: One station about half way through, all that is necessary and just water. I did grab water today because I felt like it was necessary. I wish there was water pre race. (hence my 4 stars)
Course Scenery: I love running around Miller Park. As always, it is a nice change up from the Chicago Lakefront trail, neighborhoods, etc. One of my favorite parts of the course is running on the bridge to get to the stadium grounds from the general parking lots.
Expo: Same as last year. A few cut outs to take pictures.Other Vision events were there. I think you could sign up, but not sure. Performance Running Outfitters was also there, they were selling product and promoting Black Friday. CON: Expo is only open until 3PM. I went a little later than usual. Sendiks was onsite and you could spin a wheel for prizes. They had good prizes - that my mom would use for groceries :)
Elevation Difficulty: There is a GIANT hill (to me) and a few little rollers and it's an uphill sprint to the finish. Some tight Hairpin turns make it fun!
Parking: Super easy, free parking at Miller Park! Can't beat it!
Race Management: Vision is always fantastic! Volunteers were great.
Post Race Food was a banana, cookie, and bottle of water.
Miller Park is open before the race, you can go to the bathroom sit, etc.
First three men and women get an award.
Self-seed Run, Run with Stroller, Walk, Walk with Stroller
They had photos post race on Facebook that were free.
I think I saw Bernie Brewer in a Santa costume post race.
I know Feeding America was collecting food on race day. Not sure if there was any raffles or anything this year - we received tickets but never saw where we redeem.
2014 they had Pace per mile signs up, this year they did not.
Would like water option pre race. Maybe I missed it? Maybe keep the expo open an extra hour or two?
Overall ECSWI weekend is always a good one. I've worked the race three times and this was my first year running it. I signed up for the 5K probably a week before registration closed.
-Packet pick up was easy three locations: TNF Madison, TNF Brookfield, TNF Chicago. Also on race day.
-Packet pick up at TNF Brookfield on Friday ended with a panel discussion with TNF Ultra Runner Stephanie Howe and founders of November Project Brogan and Bojan, who also dabble in trail running. If you are a run geek and like being around badass trail runners the panel is a great way to get some inspiration. In 2015 the panel was Dean Karnazes, Timothy Olson & Dylan Bowman.
-Race day packet pick up for most distances (I know not 50MI)
-Every bib had its own color. Those colors corresponded to the flags on the course as well as the medal ribbons. That made it easy to follow where the course was, even though the 5k was only an out and back.
-50/50 dirt road and trail. Which was fine for me. I'm not too comfortable on trails yet. it was still fun for me!
-Some races had waves and most races started every hour to make for less crowded trails.
-Volunteers were great.
-Photos up the same day
-No aid station for the 5k so my 5 stars are for the post race finishers chute. Bars, gels, bagels, banana, peanut butter, water bottle for finishers.
-Post race beer for every finisher. Some distances received a free meal with vegan / meat options. Other wise food was available for purchase.
-Many vendors with interactive things to do in the race village.
-Repreve was on site collecting water bottles for their products, it's a great way to promote sustainability
-The North Face had corn hole and swag for participants
-ice buckets for runners
-Very easy to see your friends coming in at the finish line. It's not super crowded which makes it much easier
-Parking was easy
-Saturday they had real bathrooms open, Sunday port o potties
-I didn't use gear check
-ECS Had an info booth which answered any questions runners could have.
-Nothing I can think of! I made it in the second spot of the podium and the t-shirt in the bag was an XL, I wish that it was a smaller size... My mom loves it though!
Originally I was signed up for the half marathon. I had to drop to the 5k. I’m not sure if it was because I ran this race as a BibRavePro or a glitch in the system, but I couldn’t change my distance online and had to reach out to customer service. Not a big deal. One thing to note if you are switching down, you’ll receive a refund! Most races I’ve ran regardless if you are running more or less there is a fee.
-Someone else can pick up your packet, (thanks, Heather!)
-Grant park start & finish
-5k had some “elevation”
-Running down the Mag Mile versus lakefront for the 5k was a welcomed change of scenery
-Easy access via uber, train, close parking near by
-Tons of post race food: sandwich, Eli’s Cheesecake, chips, and I think something else. I gave it all to my co-workers working the booth
-Path wasn’t crowded for the 5k
-I liked that I could see other runners on the other side of the Mag Mile. I wasn’t going for a time, only running. So I was watching for friends. I’m really good at spotting Heather.
-Corrals A-D with 2 minutes in between
-Photographers on course. I believe all photos are free
-Results were up in real time
-LONG SLEEVE SHIRT! I have so many t's it's nice to have something more useful.
-I was told there were 5K runners in Corral A but I didn’t see any. I saw a woman who is constantly in the top female runners in the B corral with me. Had I been concerned with time I would have snuck under the rope ;) Based on SF10 time I should have easily had an A on my bib.
-5K turn sign was a little removed from the course and you would have to turn on to the 5k route to see it. Half marathon was marked and there was a guy flagging. BUT if I didn’t look at the course map I might have missed it
-I didn’t see a beer tent anywhere, I know there was beer somewhere, but I didn’t see it.
-I don’t know if I actually received a participant guide in my email? If I did I missed it. I went through it online and missed the fact that there was bike parking. Had I known I would have biked to the race. Something like this should be called out more.