I've been eyeing this race since its inception in 2012. I have always been wary about its annual timing in July, though. With that in mind, I signed up for this year's race with exactly zero intention of shooting for any time goals. My true motivation?
THE RACE SHIRT!!!
Each runner gets to select one of the Big Ten schools to represent, along with a school-specific shirt. I've mentioned many times that I am a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Go Illini!) I will happily rep the orange and blue anyday.
The race village was located in Soldier Field's south tailgate lot. On race morning, I zipped there on a Divvy bike and gleefully docked at a station right next to the starting corrals. Divvy is the best.
I stopped by the Illinois booth and grabbed some rocking Illini sunglasses.
As I was making my way towards the starting corrals, an emcee announced that Illinois had the largest representation of runners at the race. (Michigan State came in a very, very, VERY close second.) Several folks around me grumbled, "What a surprise that Illinois won in a Chicago race." YES, there was a disparate hometown advantage, but I was still happy. The winning prize? The playing of the Illinois fight song at the starting line!
The starting area was jammed with spectators and mascots cheering us on. So much energy! The runners were fairly packed in at the start, but as is typical in most races, everyone gradually spread out.
The course consisted of an out-and-back on Lake Shore Drive down to 42nd Street, returning along the lakefront path. The course also went underneath the McCormick Place tunnel twice.
The temperature was in the mid 70s and rising, and the humidity was thick. I started at a semi-easy pace and felt good for the first three miles or so. Then, the humidity began wearing on me so I slowed down. (I saw one guy veer sharply off course, head directly towards some trees, and then violently throw up. Yikes!)
Around Mile 4.75, there was an on-course slip and slide. You better believe that I took advantage!
|Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the slip and slide, so here is a snapshot from Lindsay's 2012 race recap.|
As we all know from our childhood days, slip and slides generally require lots of momentum via a nice running start. However, there was a long line of folks waiting to go through. This meant there wasn't much room to do anything but take about two big steps and then plop-dive in head first. Embarrassingly, I only made it about halfway through the slip and slide before I came to a grinding halt. I had to try to get up from there and claw my way to the end. Awkward... but still fun. =D
At each of the aid stations, they were playing a rotation of the schools' fight songs. Loved it! One station played the Penn State fight song as I passed through. Adam is a proud Penn State alum so this made me smile on his behalf.
I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:02:57.
The post-race party was basically the biggest tailgate party I've ever seen in my life. There was lots of beer, plus rows and rows of grills cooking up Amylu sausages. There were also opportunities to attempt field goals, do a 40-yard dash, play corn hole, or practice your football throwing skills.
Several school mascots were present to take photos with their proud alums. There was no Illinois mascot, so I got a picture with some of the Illinois cheerleaders.
I found out later that my picture ended up getting some extra recognition - it showed up in this article! Ahhh, the magic of social media and hashtags, woo hoo!
The BTN Big 10K was a really fun, festive race! I think all Big Ten alums would enjoy it. It is nice that they offer both the 10K and a 5K distance. I am already trying to plant the seeds for Adam to sign up next year. We all gotta represent, right? =)
My next race: The Fort2Base Nautical 10-Miler on August 23.
Linking up with April, Patty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run, and with Jessica, Mary Beth, and Jennifer for Race Recaps.
AH! Remind me when registration opens for this next year! I remember seeing this in years past and wishing I could do it. Maybe it can be my Chicago race of 2016 if the timing works out.ReplyDelete
But of course ... I would be representing the superior team. GO BADGERS!!
Definitely! You would have a BLAST at this race. I heard that they had participants from like 48 states and 20 countries there, so I think a lot of folks make the trip in to attend! There were also plenty of, shall we say, very spirited alums who were dressed head to toe (and then some) in their school's attire. I can imagine that you would do a really great repping Wisconsin. =)Delete
Say what? A slip and slide? So cool!ReplyDelete
The slip and slide was a great flashback to our childhood days. Too bad more races don't have them on course!!! =)Delete
PENN STATE !!!
Don't laugh, but the initial way that I learned the Penn State fight song was based on the little singing football that you and Eric used to throw around the office! =)Delete
I went to MD for grad school- I had no idea there was a 10K. SO fun! Jennifer @ Run Jenny RunReplyDelete
That's awesome that you went to MD! There were lots of Terp fans there very proudly representing. The Terrapin mascot is one of my favorites within the Big Ten, too!Delete
Congrats! I love this race and definitely want to run it again next year. The slip n' slide is awesome!ReplyDelete
Thanks Sara! This race is awesome and I think it'll be one that I'd like to do every year as well! I am already plotting my strategy for better conquering the slip and slide next time. We'll have to collaborate on strategies. ;-)Delete
Fun! I'm doing a 5k as part of a 5k/half marathon the morning of the Red River Rivalry. I didn't go to either UT or OU so I'll order a shirt from my college and represent my school instead.ReplyDelete
Ooooh - the Red River Rivalry is one of the most famed in all of sports! I am sure it causes a lot of conversational divide on that day. =) I think a great way to stay neutral is for you to showcase your own school! REPRESENT!!!Delete
Oh, this sounds fun! I don't know what school I'd pick, since I went to Marquette. My youngest son wants to go to Wisconsin, so maybe I could rope him into this one!ReplyDelete
Wendy, I think you would love this race! Wisconsin would be a great choice for you! I vote YES on trying to rope your youngest son into participating. =) We can work together on the ropings - you with your son, me with my husband, LOL.Delete
What a fun idea for a race with specific shirts!! I'm sure that's a hit. Great finishing time, too. Thank you for linking up on #TuesdayTalesReplyDelete
Thanks Jessica, and thanks so much for hosting the link-up! I think it's great that folks can share old recaps from the past, too. That makes it so easy to share the love!Delete
This sounds like a super fun race! I love the glasses. I've never seen a water slide on a race course. You could bet I'd take advantage of that.ReplyDelete
Thanks HoHo! Since you are such a great water skier, I bet you would OWN the water slide!!! You'd be able to show the rest of us exactly how it's done!!! =)Delete
I was this close to signing up for this one it looks like such a blast. Maybe next year. I LOVE the idea of the slip n slide! Wheee! I'll see you at F2B!ReplyDelete
I know that you had just gotten back from your European jaunts (!!!) so the timing on this would have been challenging for you. Next year, though, for sure!!!Delete
See you at F2B!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!
What a fun race! It sounds perfect for people who are in to the Big 10 stuff! That slip and slide is too funny! There was one like that at RAGBRAI on Thursday! Must have been so refreshing. You're already soaking wet, so why not, right?ReplyDelete
The BTN folks definitely know how to market to the local alumni population. :) Yes - that was my exact thought process for the slip and slide! It would have been awesome to use it during RAGBRAI (and probably a nice break from the bike, too!)Delete
The slip 'n' slide is cool! I was tempted to get on it. ;-)ReplyDelete
I think you will like the Fort2Base Race. I've done it one and actually enjoyed it.
You should have gone for it! How often you you get the opportunity to do a giant slip and slide? :)Delete
Thanks for the good thoughts on F2B - hopefully the weather will be good!
What a fun idea! I am a big SEC girl myself :) the slip n slide sounds funny! congrats on a strong finish and thanks for linking up with us! Great job! Go Gators!!!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks MB! I love this race recap link-up - it's always so interesting to hear others' perspectives on what went well and what didn't. You can learn so much from the community! I look forward to reading more of your recaps in the future, too!Delete