The 8th Annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon and 5K happened this past Saturday at Soldier Field and the lakefront.
The time between heading out to the start line and the start of the race is quick; the corrals are separated by pace and there are pacers for multiple finishing times throughout the corrals. The half marathon headed out first and 5K followed behind half an hour later.
The race starts at the south end of Soldier Field and goes around it until the course bends east to meet the lakefront path. This distance nearly covers the first mile of the race. Once you hit the path you head south until you hit the turn around at 63rd street, a small distance past the mile-seven marker. Heading south on the course is full of new sights to see, if it isn’t your usual route when you go out on a run. There were plenty of aid stations throughout the course, and the volunteers were very cheerful and positive, which was a nice to hear and see.
The second leg of the race was more visually stunning because you are constantly looking at an unobstructed view of the Chicago skyline the majority of the way back. The aid stations for the return leg were in the same spots as they were on the way out so you had a better idea of when they were coming up. Once you came close to the finish line, you can hear the familiar voice of the MC cheering you; right after you are handed your finishers medal, you are greeted by volunteers handing out a variety of goodies like bagels, bananas, water, Gatorade, hot chocolate and protein drinks.
This race has many accommodations that make for a great race experience. The location is easily accessible by car, train, bus and cab. You can also choose to park in the lot under Soldier Filed for a good price. The parking lot option puts you an elevator ride from the club level entrance, never having to leave the building until you start the race.
After the race you are invited to go back to the club level to meet your friends and family. And who doesn’t want to meet in a warm place at the end of January after running a half marathon?
Overall, this is a well-organized race with a good location and fun atmosphere. This is my sixth time running this race and I will continue to run this race as long as they keep putting it together.