Chicago Half Marathon FREE ENTRY Giveaway

While most runners in Chicago are now firmly focused on marathon training, I’ve been focused on TRI training.  My life is swim, bike, run, repeat.  Swim, bike, run, repeat.  This means I have actually been running less than “normal”.  My miles are down.  In a sense, I’ve been in cross training mode, very unworried about how far or how often I’m running.  However, even I have now downloaded a training plan, ran my first workout, and am beginning to think about the fall running & racing season.  One thing is for certain, long hard miles in the summer bring fast times in the fall.  Where do I want to run fast?  The Chicago Half Marathon on September 8, 2013. 


While half marathons are now popping up everywhere, we still have a solid few that survive on reputation alone …. not gimmick, or hype, or a promise of a “good time” but rather a solid race that offers a fast & flat road race that brings the serious competitor and first timer alike.  One such race, is the Chicago Half Marathon, in Jackson Park, in Chicago.  It’s always the second Sunday in September.  It’s always the best race Chicago offers in September.  It’s always the premier half of the entire fall season for Chicagoland.

The Chicago Half was my first ever half marathon and one which I continue to return to year after year.  This will be my goal half marathon for 2013 and the one where I won’t run safe and smart but with my heart on my sleeve, pushing with everything I have in my tank on that given day.  Plus it’s a Southside race and although I’m not born & bred Chicago, I am a Southsider now and love any race that doesn’t force me to travel all the way downtown.

Course map (from 2012 because the website is currently having technical issues from the storms, but it’s always the same) shows a run thru Jackson Park then a balls out fast race on Lake Shore Drive where you can see your fast friends and those behind you too! 


    View from Lake Shore Drive       Chicago Half_stock


If you’re in it for the bling, here is a sneak peak at the medals for the 5K and the Half, plus the Windy City Challenge medal for those who plan to double up and run both the 13.1 Chicago event (which occurred on June 8th) and the Chicago Half on September 8th.

Chicago Half_medals_2013   Windy City Challenge_medal_2013

Now, I know you want to run but I also know that race entry fees stack up fast so US Road Sports is offering a free entry to one reader.  To enter this giveaway, comment below and tell me which is your favorite Chicago area half marathon.  I’m going to be super picky next year and select only a few quality races, so I need to know which one is your favorite so I can narrow down my choices!

Giveaway is live NOW and will run til Monday, July 1st at 9am when I will select one winner via a random number generator.  Good luck!

** Run the Chicago Half Marathon ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5k Race Review – 2012


Each year, the Chicago Half Marathon also offers a 5K option.  Since I’m slowly coming off the injury train, this was the option I chose for 2012.  It was the first time that I’ve ever participated in the 5K and it was a great experience.  I would highly recommend it for anyone who is going down to watch the half marathon or those who are looking for a nice fast 5K course.

First, I was very happy that the half marathoners started 45 minutes before the start of the 5K.  This allowed me plenty of time to watch everyone cross the start, plus snap a few blurry photos of my friends as they passed.  Once the Half Marathoners cleared the start, I then dropped my bag and had time to run a very slow 1 mile warm-up, stretch my unbelievably tight hamstrings and hit the start line with a few minutes to spare. 

Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K_2012

The timing was perfect in my opinion!  What wasn’t so perfect was my decision to not press a little closer to the start line for the 5K.   I knew my fitness wasn’t up to par and I knew I wouldn’t be running real fast; therefore, I didn’t want to get too close to the start and interrupt anyone who was planning to go out hard and race for real.  That being said, I need to realize that my “not so fast” pace is still faster than many others, particularly those who are planning to walk the entire 5K.  It was definitely amateur hour at the start of the 5K.  Nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t have the endurance extra energy to weave around so many people.  My first mile split beeped before I could even see the 1 mile clock due to all my weaving and bopping around the walkers and slower runners.  Totally my fault and since I was in no shape to race, it wasn’t a problem but definitely something I’ll remember for the next 5K I run downtown. 

The 5K course was through the Jackson Park area, former site of the 1890 World’s Fair, in Hyde Park.


There were long straights with very few turns, lots of shade and plenty of space to run after you found your rightful spot in the pack rhythm.  There was one water station around mile 2 and then the finish was in the same location as the half marathon, which I thought was a nice touch, helping the 5K runners feel part of the entire event.  The 5K finishers then received a medal for their accomplishment and loads of snacks/drinks to refuel.  See the 5K SWAG pic below, which includes the cotton tee (half marathoners received a long sleeve tech shirt):

Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K_2012_SWAG

The Chicago Half & Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5k also gave a virtual goodie bag.  I know the jury is still out on the idea of virtual race bags but I like them.  I tend to throw out 99% of the literature in the race bag so love the idea of just being able to download the coupons/literature that I want out of the bag and not worry about the rest. 

This race also features a huge area for gear check so the lines didn’t ever appear to be bad.  There were just under 30 charities represented in Charity Village and there were a ton of bathrooms.  Plus beer & pizza at the finish.

The Chicago Half is the original half marathon in Chicago and while we now have many more options to run the half distance in and around Chicago, it still dominates the other races with its unique & historic location, a few shaded miles thru Jackson Park, and 9.5 breathtaking miles on Lake Shore Drive.  The great SWAG and rockin’ finish line party are just icing on the cake for the original half marathon.  This is a runner’s race for beginner and experienced runners alike.  Registration for the 2013 Chicago Half Marathon & 5K opens tomorrow, September 11, 2012 at 7am.  Sign up!  You won’t regret it!  And bring all your friends, I will! 

Photos below:  Left –  Marathon Mike & Me, Middle – Chicago Running Bloggers:  Sara (& Waffles), Lauren, Me, Maggie, Kim, Erin, EmilyRight – Me & Melissa S

Chicago Half_Mike Chicago Half_Bloggers Chicago Half_Melissa

** Happy Running **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **