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BTN B10K Race Recap and Race Review


This Saturday, Alex and I ran the BTN B10K Race in downtown Chicago, specifically Grant Park. Check out my race review and recap to see if you might need to add it to your list!

First of all, thank you all so much for the well wishes for my health after my post yesterday. I got Remicade, and I am hoping that it will do a great deal to help, and I am going in this morning to see my specialist (who was thankfully able to fit me in). That appointment plus an appointment with my new psychiatrist (for my anxiety and depression) on Thursday means that it is a BIG doctor week for me! 

This race review and race recap is going to be a bit different than normal–I’m going to look at the pros and cons of the race and then give you all the info on how the race went for Alex and myself.

Brief BTN B10K Race Review

The BTN B10k race is one of the most popular races in Chicago. Check out my BTN B10K race review and recap at

The BTN B10K Race starts, finishes, and encircles Grant Park in downtown Chicago. A good-sized race (12,000ish people) that calls for Big Ten (BTN Network) fans and alums of all varieties and also those of us who don’t really care, lol (WHAT UP ACC!!). There was much to love about the BTN B10K!

Pros of BTN B10K

  • Easy to navigate starting area (very easy to find your corral, etc) and to get into the park (plentiful public transportation opportunities)
  • Race start BANG on time, and corrals were suitably spaced to prevent too much crowding. 
  • Plenty of portalets near the start (but don’t think you won’t be in a line)
  • Fun race route that is different from so many of the races that I have done downtown, and loved that you got interaction with both the city as well as the harbor, park, and Museum Campus. They even managed to find just about all of Chicago’s hills/inclines! Which works in my favor 😀 And I will say that the hills are over after the first 3 miles.
  • Finishers’ area was plentiful with wet towels, Nuun, cold water, bananas, and Clif Bars, as well as Goose Island Brews and finally AmyLu sausages. 
  • AWESOME Finisher (and Guest) Party Tailgate. Even in the states that we were in, Alex and I still contemplated going to partake in the festivities! There were dashes and mascots and food and fun. Wish I had been able to get involved, but as you will soon see, not an option!
  • People have great fun with it! I saw a person dressed up as a Michigan superhero, I heard multiple people say that they were going to die when they realized that they were halfway through (this might be the only time of year that they run), but it was lots of fun, lots of friends, and just a super positive atmosphere that I really, really dug.
  • 5K option starting 1 hour after the 10K for those who know that they are going to die at 3 miles in but don’t actually want to die.
  • Each school as a corresponding ribbon for their medal! At the end of the Finishers’ only area, you got to pick up your respective school medal and then take pics at tents for your respective school and with the BTN bus. 
  • Medals are substantial, and the shirts correspond to your school. These shirts are basically collectors items, and you see them all over the place in Chicago and the day of! And yes, many people wear the race day shirt the day of the race.

Alex and I at the start of the BTN B10K race in Chicago! @suzlyfe

Cons of BTN B10K

  • Though a pretty solid course, unless you are used to some hills and are positioned at the front of the corrals, I wouldn’t go into this as a PR course. It is set up to enjoy the morning, have fun with your friends, and still get a great run in. (to be fair, this is also a pro)
  • No Pacers (for those that care)
  • Corrals were “enforced” in that there was someone at the entry to each corral, but then people just kind of found their own place. So that meant that there were 11:00 min/mi runners in Corral A (literally, heard someone make the comment that “Aren’t you an 11:00 min/mi runner? And you are in A?”). But there was decent enough space that while we were moving through the crowd, it wasn’t impossible (also a testament to the spacing of the corrals).
  • Sausages and beer at that time of morning is a no go
  • If you are at a popular school, register early or you might not get your preferred school! They ran out of Men’s Mediums and Larges for Northwestern, so I got Alex a Women’s XXL HAHAHAHAHA) or you can get the generic shirt. I know one of my giveaway winners wasn’t able to get the shirt for her school.

BTN B10K Race Recap

My and Alex’s race entries were provided by Clif Bar as part of their #feedyouradventure campaign. Thank you, Clif!

Alex and I woke up to GORGEOUS morning (60s, clear, not too humid) and headed down to Grant Park to run the Big B10K Race (the 10k started at 7 am, the 5k at 8 am). I had a bagel thin with nut butter beforehand, which I honestly considered skipping because of my stomach, but I knew that I would be even further in a calorie deficit if I didn’t. Hip felt fine-ish on the way down there. 

Alex and I at the start of the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Get the race review and recap at!

We went over to our corral area (Alex didn’t know what a corral was in this context. #newbie. I also had to repin his bib because he still doesn’t quite get it. He also was wearing a cotton Northwestern Med shirt #newbie, even though he could have worn the race shirt (like bajillions of other people. This is a race where it is acceptable). I wore all purple so that he wouldn’t be odd duck out.

Look who found us! Ellen was one of the winner of the race entry giveaway, and it was so good to see her. Don’t follow her? DO THAT NOW.

Ellen (My Uncommon Everyday) and I at the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Check out the race review and recap at!

Not sure how she found us! AND WE FINALLY GOT A PICTURE TOGETHER!

Soon enough, it was time to run! We started with a great pace that was comfortable but moving, about 8:50, but with all the people, we spent quite a bit of time moving in and out and around. I must say that we have about 5-6 inclines that can truly be considered hills in Chicago (thus why I wrote this post on hill alternatives!), and the route covered all but 1 of them, to my knowledge! I will give them props for that, but seriously?

Everything was going fine (my hips were holding together, though starting to not feel 100%), until I felt that tell-tale sign that, in the words of my beloved Mo, my stomach was about to fall out of my butt. That was about mile 4, and at mile 4.75, I told Alex to finish without me, and I dove into the bathroom (thank goodness for knowing that area so well). I’ll spare you the details, but it was necessary.

I was sad that we had to run the last mile + separated, but I wanted him to see if he could PR, and I didn’t know what was going to happen with me. I slowed down a little and somehow kept it together through to the finish. I honestly was super proud of myself for being able to finish–this was the closest I’ve ever gotten to a DNF. Alex said that his last part was pretty difficult, as well. By his watch, he was 10 s slower than his time at the Amita 10k, but we’ll see what the chip time says. I think that our strategy was better at the AMITA race, where we were able to negative split the race. At this race, we were strong, but dodging and leap frogging, and that caused us to use up a bit too much, too soon.

Refueling wiht Clif Bar and more at the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Check out the race review and recap at!

After we finished, I wasn’t feeling great, to I grabbed my medal (and they have different ribbons for each school!), a banana and water (Nuun was also available), and then I hit up the Clif Bar van to get some of the new Nut Butter Filled Clif Bars (YUM–I’ve already bought more of the Coconut Almond Butter. SERIOUSLY). Then we went home, showered, and went to brunch (eggs and pancake flights!!) with our friend before coming back to watch some Olympics. 

Even if you have a rough race, the #BTN10k is still a blast! #feedyouradventure @clifbar #runchat Click To Tweet

BTN B10K Race Bottom Line:

I would 100% run the BTN B10K again, and I would recommend it to those who want a larger, well organized, but still chill race during summertime Chicago. Two thumbs way way up!


Have you had the new nut butter filled Clif Bars? Unsponsored opinion, they will change your life.

Beer and sausage in the morning? (Hush, Laura ;D)

Linking this race recap and race review up with Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run; Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday; and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.

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