As I previewed here, I ran the Chicago 1/2 Marathon for the 4th time this past weekend. I ran with my two sisters – E and CJ. E was running for a PR under 2 hours and CJ was running to finish her first half. I ran to accompany CJ on her first race. Here is our compiled review of the race.
The expo was held on Navy Pier – a great tourist attraction, but not so much for the expo. Car and foot traffic was horrendous on Saturday. It was so hard to navigate the building to get to the right hall and then the expo exhibits were sparse.
Since we stayed downtown off of Michigan Avenue, we paid for the bus shuttle from Millennium Park. This was one of three different locations available to runners. We arrived at 5:20 a.m. to a long line waiting for multiple school buses. It was cold, dark and early, but the lines went fairly quickly. I thought that at this location, they managed the shuttles very well.
Unfortunately, closer to the start line, there were some major logistical issues with traffic. It was backed very far back and, after listening to the radio chatter from the bus drivers, the shuttles had to unload in a different location due to the back up. But we made it and only had to trudge a little longer distance to the staging area. At the staging area, they had adequate porta-potties, but only had a hand washing/sanitizing station in one area, and there was a long line for that! Instead of water and soap, they would have been more efficient with hand sanitizers in the facilities.
The start was well managed and there were not any issues with the corrals. Every runner had a letter on his/her bib designating a wave and I didn’t notice too many issues with runners disobeying this. So the race was fairly smooth, with the usual congestion at the start and at most water stations, of which there were plenty and they were well staffed.
As for the course, it was better than I remember. Yes, there was the out and back on Lakeshore Drive that I complained about in my preview, but I realized how great the scenery is on this course. Lake Michigan, Jackson Park, the skyline … The course was smooth and quick. A great course for a first timer. It was my first and CJ’s, and for both of us, it instilled the desire to run more!! Here are a few photos of the course.
Finally, the race finish was alright. It was a little disorganized and the snacks were primarily sweet. And the shuttles for the ride back were SO disorganized. The race even posted an apology for this on its Facebook page. Horrible to find the right shuttle.