Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Chicago Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I have never done this race before. It was at a perfect time of year for a race and was not too hot, finally!! I am going to recap the prerace events, race itself and the post race festivities.
The regular emailed communication was great to have and keep us excited about what to expect. The emails also kept us updated on the latest news.
The expo was great with easy parking. Everything you needed was set up in multiple stations (bib in one location, back of the expo for your shirt and another location for parking validation). I would have preferred to have one station for the essentials. The multiple stations did ensure you saw all the vendors at the expo. The variety of vendors I really appreciated as well as the free samples.
The swag included a nice long sleeved tech shirt, hand lotion, probiotics (this brand is $$), drink holder, zone bar and various coupons with discounts or free offers. Overall the swag was really nice and stuff I will use.
I was not sure how quickly parking would fill at MSI and the surrounding streets. I used a ridesharing service and was at the race early. There were significant backups on Lake Shore Drive but they moved relatively quickly. Parking was still available at 6am from what I could tell.
The race start was nice and organized. The biggest issue was one I did not expect, mosquitoes! The garbage bag I had to keep me warm was one of the only things that helped to protect me from being eaten alive. The other helpful piece of clothing was my buff which I was able to pull over my neck and face. Even with this protection I had multiple bites. Next year I would also add mosquito repellant to my list of items needed on race day. Thankfully I was in an early corral which helped me get away from all the mosquitoes.
The weather was cool and perfect. I can’t think of a race I have done recently with weather this good! The local roads were a bit crowded but thinned nicely by the time we hit Lake Shore Drive. I loved the crowds at the start and finish. There was also an entertainer playing Ray LaMontagne that was fabulous. The course was out and back which definitely pumped me up to see the elites racing to the finish. Crossing the finish line I was given my largest medal to date. This medal is amazing if you like race bling (I do)! If you completed the Spring race and this race you got a challenge medal for completing both races (FYI this choice sells out quickly).
The post race area was nice with free pizza and beer. The live entertainment was great and right next to the food. We quickly got our Athlinks results to claim and within a week Athlinks had linked our FREE race pictures and video of crossing the finish line. For anyone thinking of doing this race next year I would highly recommend it (with bug spray on). The race route and staging area may change for next year but I am sure the event will still be as memorable.