Latest reviews by Dylan D

(2016)
"Runnin With Abe"
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I had a great time running this race. The expo is pretty small, but has more than everything you would need from a race this size. They had special Abe Lincoln 22 oz bombers and cool Abe swag available. This year's race shirt wasn't my favorite, but they have had some of my all time favorite race shirts in the past. However, race day is where this race really shines.

This race, like much of Springfield, IL is all about Abe Lincoln. Abe and and Mary Todd are available before and after the race to take pictures with runners and are extremely friendly and accessible to all runners who would like to get a pic. The race is kicked off by a speech by Abe himself followed by the national anthem and musket fire to start off the race. Just hearing about this before hand didn't nearly do it justice. Starting a race with musket fire is really awesome in the moment.

The course itself is surprisingly pretty and interesting. It takes you through Abe's old home, the old and new state capital, a historical cemetery and lots of other Springfield sites. The course is very well cleared out and there is plenty of room to spread out and run your race. There are also a bunch pacers for almost every time you are trying to hit. My pacers were excellent and where a HUGE help to hit my time at this race. It ends with a few small hills that may catch you off guard if you are used to uber-flat Chicago running like me, but other than that it is a flat course.

It was a windy and cold day, but parking and hotels are all within a block or two of the finish so it was super easy to change into dry clothes and go back to the post race party serving doughnuts, beet juice, and Abe's Ale and Lincoln Lager.

I would very highly recommenced this race to anyone in the area looking for a spring 1/2 or an Abe lover anywhere in the world.

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(2015)
"Good Race with A Heady After Party "
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A Greatful Dead themed race brought back for the final Dead Concerts is going to be a pretty fun race.

Packet pickup the day before the race was at Fleet Feet Old town, and besides not having the best times (11AM-3PM on a Wednesday) was very quick and easy. The Tie-Dye tech shirt was pretty nice and a unique piece of race sway, although the bonus tie-dye tech hats were a little less wearable. Overall though good quality gear.

The race it self was a lot of fun. It went through part of Grant Park and the staff and volunteers did a surprisingly good job keeping it clear of traffic and bystanders. I was concerned about the route before the race started, but it was clear and easy to follow once things got going. Nice and flat and well supported the whole way.

The post race party was where its at. They had a band called Old Shoe? playing afterwards that was spot on for the mood of the race. They also had Lou Malnati's pizza, I repeat they hat Lou's pizza at the finish. Hard to go wrong there. We stayed for a while after the race and enjoyed the music and some post race Magic Hat's. As things wound down many other non-racers/supporters came in and enjoyed the band. Also, for whatever reason people seemed to be in a giving mood as we got no less than 8 free beer tickets. Pretty sweet score.

Between the tie-dye, pizza, and live music this race delivered spot on what I was hoping for. Hopefully it will be back again...

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(2014)
"Solid Race Great Course"
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I ran this sprint this year, but I will be signing up for the Olympic distance next year. It is a great race that goes through some awesome areas of Chicago. The bike course is pretty cool especially if you are from Chicago.
This is one of the largest if not the largest triathlon in the world. Tons of participants and still everything was very well organized and it never felt overwhelming or confusing.
The swim goes through the harbor infront of Grant park. This is the only day all year that it is open to swimmers. A little bit choppy at parts and a few sections with a lot of seaweed floating in the water, but other than that good swim.
Both sprint and Olympic distances ride down actual lake shore drive. Many cars were honking and cheering for the riders which added to the fun. This was the first time I had ever ridden on LSD so that was cool The Olympic distance also rides down lower Wacker. Wanting to pretend I am Batman and the Blues Brothers makes me really excited for this portion next year.
The run was also nice it goes through the Museum Campus and Grant Park. A lot of spectators cheering on the run.
Overall it was a great race and a great experience.

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(2014)
"Soild Race Through Downtown Birmingham"
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I was staying on the race course in 2013 and was surprised to see it go past my window early that morning. Birmingham doesn't really come off as a running town so it was a surprise to see all the runners passing by. I then found out that the finisher's medal was a Benz symbol on a ribbon. After I saw this I knew I had to finish it so I could get one. It give a good tour of the city and goes through all of the major highlights of the down town area. This isn't all that exciting as it is Birmingham (the full marathon just does a second lap), but it was good to see the city out and supporting the racers. This was my first and only half, but I had a great time doing it. It does have what seem to me to be some pretty significant climbs, I think the major uphill section started mile 3 or 4 and didn't end until around mile 10. Birmingham is a very hilly city and has some very steep sections, but the race planners did a good job staying away from the steep hills and somehow found a course with a long steady climb on a fairly easy grade (for Birmingham). I would definitely recommend this race to anyone in the area, or for anyone who is already interested in going to Bham and is trying to pick out a weekend.

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