Race Review: F3 Lake Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the F3 Lake Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I made it back from Chicago thawed out and with some more bling! I was excited to go back to Chicago, as the last time I was there was May, 2015 for a friends wedding. I spent 4 years in Chicago for college and consider it a second home, so not being there for 2+ years was rough!

I flew in Thursday night to O’Hare, where we had to sit on the runway until our gate opened up. Normally, I don’t mind taking public transportation, but I really didn’t feel like taking the Blue Line at 10 PM. I took a Lyft to my hotel and got a few things done before calling it a night.

Friday Morning, I headed off after breakfast to pick up my packet. Packet pick up was done throughout the week around Chicago. Fleet Feet and another local running store had various times and packet pickups for people, so race day wouldn’t be chaotic. I was able to take the Brown Line to Old Town and get my Bib at the Fleet Feet there, with no line. It was a race where they assigned your bib as you picked it up. If you got your gear race day, it was a $20 extra charge.

After getting my swag, I walked around some before heading back for a run at the hotel. I went and wondered around downtown, found another base layer at Under Armor and ultimately had dinner with my sister before heading off to see Hamilton.

On Saturday, I was up around 8 AM. I had a light breakfast, changed and headed out to Soldier Field. It tends to be hard to get to, so I caught a Lyft there. We were dealing with increased traffic/road closures because the Women’s March happened to take place the same day as the race, only 2 miles north. After getting to Soldier Field, I went into the United Club and hung out for awhile. I also had the chance to catch up with some other Bibrave Pros before the race.


Mark and I ended up doing the half and headed out to the corrals at about 945-950. It was separated by times, though some of the volunteers were unhappy when people were trying to get into the faster corral to get to the pace group. We started right at 10 AM (and I semi thought an 11 or 12 start time would have given it a little more time to warm up). The first part of mile 1 was around Soldier Field before it became an out and back course down the Lake Front Path. Even though there was a race going on, we still were running into non racers enjoying the path. The course was relatively flat, though some areas had some slight inclines. Lots of mud and construction areas this year. Another downside was there were areas that got congested, either with too many people around the pacers or having runners going both directions, which slowed me down some.

Aid stations were every 1-2 miles (7 total). All had water and some new/odd sports drink that I didn’t care to try. My thoughts are why stray from Gatorade/Powerade? Didn’t see any gels or anything on course though.

Post Race, you were greeted with fans and volunteers, your medal, water and bananas. I wish that there was a little bit more in terms of the food options though. As I was coming through, I met Andy, who’s also a Bibrave Pro and we chatted shortly. I had to pass quickly through the United Club (check my time, etc) before heading out, as I was meeting up with some friends for lunch in Wicker Park.

There were plenty of vendors set up in the United Club for people to hang out at and get more information from. Additionally, you could check your race results on site. There was also stretching areas and photos being taken (that you can download for free!). F3 also works with Athlinks, so you could claim your results on Athlinks (website or their app) right after the race! I was able to go on the Athlinks App as I was heading back to the hotel and check my results and claim them on the spot (haven’t done it yet, get on it!).

Athlinks App

Overall a good race. I wish there was a little more space to spread out on the Lake Front Path and Gatorade/Powerade over the energy drink that the race provided. Additionally, a little more variety in terms of post race food would have been helpful. I’m glad the weather was nice for January in Chicago (I’ve seen wind chills to negative 30*F in January). A fun race if you’re looking for something to do!


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