Race Review: Crystal Lake Half Marathon

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If you’re looking for a race that’ll keep you motivated throughout, look no further than the Crystal Lake Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile race takes you on a tour throughout Crystal Lake, highlighting the town favorites including Crystal Lake Main Beach, Lippold Park, the Dole Mansion, Crystal Lake South and Central High Schools, and ends in wonderful downtown Crystal Lake.
The course is point-to-point, meaning runners park in downtown Crystal Lake and take a school bus to the start at Main Beach. The buses ran frequently enough that everyone arrived with plenty of time to spare. The fast and flat course runs clockwise around Main Beach with a little extra loop in Lippold Park on crushed limestone before touring the rest of the town. Water was offered every 1.5 miles, with Gatorade added in during the last 3 aid stations as well. Roads were very well marked with green arrows on the road and directional signs, though there were many volunteers throughout the course to help guide runners as well. Speaking of, the volunteers were incredible. Each one was cheering for me as if they were my biggest fan, and that truly helped me (and probably many other runners!) stay present, focused, and motivated throughout my entire race.
Once finished, runners were greeted by a crowd and treated to wraps from the Olympic Cafe along with water and pop options. Race entry also included one free beer at the post race party at Crystal Lake Brewing. It was a beautiful day to hang out and enjoy the company of other racers at CLB. Awards in the form of stainless steel tumblers were given out to the top finisher in each age group and gender. The race also offered a kids 1-mile race as well and it was absolutely adorable to see these young kids SO excited to push themselves toward the finish line and wrap that medal around their neck. The killer combo of Race Productions by Trudy and Denise Smith of Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy made for a fabulous Labor Day Sunday!

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