Race: Chicago Marathon – https://www.chicagomarathon.com/
Runner: Adela S
Location: Chicago, Il
4:39, somewhere around 11,000th place out of 40,000 registered
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
1) Highly organized, including security
2) Post-race food & beer – we were even given ice bags. That’s a first for me!
3) Volunteers and fans were great
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
1) Spectators crossing in front of runners. I am not ashamed I yelled at someone, “I’ll hurt you if you cut me off!”
2) Weird carpets over the metal grated bridge, presumable so runners didn’t trip on the grated bridge. I tripped on the carpet, go figure, and fell on my knees before mile 1.
3) I think the course could have been more scenic for being in Chicago. I would have loved to run by the old worlds fair grounds or spend more time downtown.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
The Bank of America Cheer Section was probably the quietest part of the course.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I feel great about getting my 4th or 5th fastest time (out of 10) in a race that I only trained for in three months after a couple of bad injuries. I know a lot of this was due to proper prep (thanks, coach!!) and being excited about it rather than dreading it. It was so fun.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Watch your footing on the carpets! Typical big race with inexperienced people stopping for pictures or cutting in front of you for water/gatorade so be aware. Mostly, be prepared for any type of weather. Chicago weather can be so unpredictable it’s almost bipolar.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Shorter, faster leg turnover is the secret.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
It’s virtually flat.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Yes, but not all of it.
Difficulty – is it a tough course
Not difficult; just crowded
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Competition – is there a strong field?
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Lottery system, expensive course fee ($185). Chicago’s a busy town: Besides the marathon, the Cubs and Bears were both playing and Kanye was performing. Book early! Hotels fill up.
Weather and typical race conditions –
Be prepared for anything. My day was sunny and 74.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
It was very chilly waiting to start near the lake before sun-up but was really warm later. Just watch the weather and be prepared.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
⅘ stars. It was my first of the “majors” and I have to say that personally I prefer a smaller race. However, it is very cool to be a Chicago marathon finisher so try it once!