The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series hosted three events this past weekend, with over 17,000 participants throughout.
Saturday morning had the 5K, and the 10K and the half marathon races were held on Sunday. The half marathon was the main event and started at 6:30 a.m. at Grant Park, with a staggered start to keep congestion down on the course. The weather was perfect at the start with overcast skies and mild humidity, an anomaly for July. Runners made their way through the closed course of downtown streets. Cheer stations, bands, energetic volunteers and spectators made the miles go fast with enthusiasm high among racers. Highlights included a Cubs station, the “Blues Brothers” and Mike Ditka with the Chicago Bears drumline.
After the downtown portion, runners made their way south to 31st street and then headed back to Grant Park. More bands, DJ’s and cheer stations lined the course along with awesome volunteers at aid stations. Once runners crested Roosevelt, they could see the finish line and made their last push to the finish arch. After runners finished, they were greeted with water, medals, Gatorade and several samples to take home.
Echosmith rocked out while runners jammed out or relaxed in the runners recovery area. Around 9:15 a.m., a short downpour blew through the city with heavy lightening strikes, temporarily suspending the half marathon, and runners were instructed to seek shelter along the route and at the finish line.
The eighth annual race was well managed and provided a great atmosphere for athletes. Mexican Olympic team member Daniel Vargas took first with a time of 01:05:55, and Neely Spence Gracey was the first woman finisher at 1:12:26.