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Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon Review and Recap

Are you ready for my Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon Review and Recap? GOOD. The only race that takes you directly up Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile is a fantastic PR course. Found out why!

Run Mag Mile Half Marathon Review

Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap
As many of you know, this was my third time running the race, and my first time racing it. Here is my recap and review from the 2014 race and the 2015 race, which I ran as training for marathons and also in “coach” form. And in a crown. 😀 I selected this race as my goal half marathon for the summer because of its fast course and also my familiarity with it. 

Run Mag Mile General Information

The Run Mag Mile Half marathon is a great option for those that want a more “city” half marathon and fewer crowds than the later-in-the-summer Chicago Half Marathon (which I have also raced, but it was before the blog, and I wasn’t so impressed). The half marathon was $109, and the 5K option, which Alex did, was $49. Entry includes finishers medal (for the half),

Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap

long sleeve tech shirt (men’s and women’s options),

Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap

Luna Bars, and finishers party. Both races start at 7 AM and BANG on time! (2 minute intervals between corrals, which were organized according to finishing time).

The race isn’t huge–1500 participants–which makes it the perfect size, in my opinion, as you are never alone but you don’t have to push people down and fight with them ;D

Note: Prior to this year, the Run Mag Mile Half Marathon was billed as the Magnificent Mile Women’s Half Marathon and 5K, and if you remember, there was an entire weekend (with Lauren Fleshman, yoga, and more) dedicated to it. This year, they decided to diversify, if you will, and make it inclusive of all. Though I will say men did run it in the past, lol.

Pacers were available via Chicago Endurance Sports at :30 s intervals.

Run Mag Mile Sponsors

Normally I don’t also talk about the sponsors specifically, but the Mag Mile Half Marathon is also a great race because of the sponsors: Fleet Feet Sports, Luna Bar, RAM Racing, Nuun (who I believe has partnered with RAM) and Athletico (stretching and massages!) more make this an actual event, and this year there was a $6000 purse for the top half marathon finishers. 

**I will say that I wish there had been at least something for the 5K finishers.

Run Mag Mile Half Course

Check out the Run Mag Mile Half Marathon course map and see why this flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap

The Run Mag Mile Half and 5k start like many Chicago races–behind the Museum of Modern Art and running north. This time, though, the race heads left rather than right and goes up Michigan Avenue all the way up to Water Tower Place before returning along the same route, splitting at about mile 2.8 and returning to the start. The half marathon continues straight to Lake Michigan and then heads south down the Lakefront Path past Grant Park, the Museum Campus, McCormick Place, and down to about mile 14.5 (if memory serves), turns around, and comes back up around the Museum Campus and meets Columbus Drive (the same road you start on) at Roosevelt and you run about .25 mi north. 

There are a few “red flags” about the Run Mag Mile Half course:

  • The course can get very hot in direct sunlight, though much of it has tree cover
  • The course is not closed to other runners/cyclists
  • The course consists of 2 out-and-backs, so there are 2 tight turns
  • There is a pretty substantial (but not super long) hill at about mile 12.9

That said, there is much that is in favor for the course. If you are looking for an overall flat course with a bit of incline here and there, lots of straights, and tons of visual interest (both city and lake), this is the course for you. I can tell you that I have become more and more of a fan of this course each time I’ve run it. Especially now that I don’t run down on the lower half of the Lakefront Trail any more. 

Run Mag Mile Course Support

Plentiful water stops, bathrooms (portapotties as well as permanent bathrooms along the LFT), and medics. Water and Nuun were offered throughout, and there was also a station with Luna Bar minis. Plenty of cheering station opportunities due to the out-and-back nature of the course.

Running the #MagnificentMile could get you a #halfmarathon PR! #runmagmile #runchat Click To Tweet

Run Mag Mile Finisher Area

Cold wet towels were available immediately upon finishing, then Nuun and water bottles, Luna Bars, and Corner Bakery chips and a small sandwich. The finisher party was a little farther north, but there was a stage with music, tents from the sponsors, and plenty of photo ops. Also stretching from Athletico!

Mag Mile Half Marathon Race Recap

To preface, this was my first official half marathon since I broke my back last year during the Chicago Marathon, and this has also been one HELL of a summer for me–mentally, physically, etc. I have been dealing with a flare up of my generalized anxiety and situational depression, and those factors triggered a flare up of my Crohn’s Disease, which reached its worst at my last race, the BTN B10K.  Also, my foot has been giving my some trouble lately, so I’ve been working on it and taping it, and I was glad that it held together!

I had a few goals in mind for the Run Mag Mile Half: 

  • Finish in one piece, bonus points for not feeling terrible.
  • Try to use the bathroom not at all, or once at most (this would be achieved via Immodium, watching my pace, and listening to my body)
  • Finish happy and knowing that I had run a smart, solid race
  • Finish under 2 hours and with a negative split. 
  • My A Goal: within 10 minutes of my half marathon PR time (1:41:30 from 2013 at the Allstate 13.1, also in Chicago), and hopefully with a negative split. This was one of my goals for the summer (before the flare)

I accomplished all but #2–I went to the bathroom once at about mile 8.5–and I am so, so happy with myself and my little body. 

Chicago Sky on fire! Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap

Sky on fire before we began! It changed quickly to a drizzle and overcast.

The weather was about 70 and misty/drizzly, so humidity was pretty legit, but unlike the other years, it was completely overcast, which saved us from the intense sun that can get you on the LFT. I ran the first mile or two at around 9:00 min/mi pace, and I was feeling pretty good as I got my legs underneath me.

With Mrs. Marcia of Marcia's Healthy Slice, who won one of my giveaway entries!

With Mrs. Marcia of Marcia’s Healthy Slice, who won one of my giveaway entries!

As we got to the Lakefront Trail, my watch caught up (it can ping around between the buildings) and I saw I was running about an 8:45, which I was pleased with. I stopped it a few times to try to get it to even out with the course mile markers, so there is about .3 mi total that wasn’t accounted for on my overall distance, though it had my paces accurate. I held an 8:30 pretty much the entire way, except for maybe one 8:15 and one 8:45.

I made my bathroom stop, and because I knew that I was going for a running time, rather than overall time, A goal (for personal reasons), I stopped my watch at the bathroom, and then forgot to turn it back on! I ran another .15 mi or so before I realized, and so I think my overall distance was likely about 13.5 miles. I think my bathroom break probably cost me about a minute or two.

Don’t get more technical than that with me, I’m running after breaking my back, and I am going to go with my math! #IdowhatIwant

What Now Meme Trixi

I headed back for home, and soon I found myself in the last mile. I charged up that hill, saw Alex at the top, and then TURNED IT ON. I ran as hard as I could, and at one point, I looked down and saw 6:40 pace!! I felt good that entire last .5 mi in to the finish!! I don’t think I could have run much faster or further at that pace, but I felt solid and happy. 

We knocked it out of the park! Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at suzlyfe.com/chicago-run-mag-mile-half-marathon-review-recap

Chip time of 1:52:40, minus the bathroom stop = I am going to say that I hit my goal! (again, my PR time was 1:41:30)

I must mention that I listened the Bitch Sesh(one of my favorites!) the entire way (and I’m not the least embarrassed by it) because I wanted to go out like a normal-ish run and not charge out or whatever. 

I almost must mention that though I didn’t have the normal signs and whatnot, I had some of the best course support ever–my former trainees were out there, some pacing for Chicago Endurance Sports for the race, some pacing and running their CES marathon training long run, and then Alex at the end (he ran alongside me on the other side of the fence as I finished!). I loved my high fives, my side hugs, and my cheers as they saw me. I have really missed them, and it was so lovely to feel missed and remembers. If any of you are reading, thank you so much, and know that I miss you all so very much!!

Chicago Endurance Sports Marathon Training coachees and coach Suz at various events during Chicago Marathon weekend! More at Suzlyfe.com

Bottom Line:

If I was nit-picking, I would like to have not had that bathroom stop, but you know what? I don’t care. I ran my perfect race for where I am right now, what I am dealing with, and I felt great the whole time. 

I don’t know where I will go from here. But I needed this race. I needed to feel like ME (Suz the Runner) again. 

In the words of Bitch Sesh, I just wanted Suz the Runner to Succeed.

Why Suz isn't nitpicking her #halfmarathon and is counting it a success! #runchat Click To Tweet

If you read all of this, thank you. Now go and refuel ;D

FULL COLOR LUNA LOGO.PNG

Thank you so very much to Luna Bar for providing Alex’s and my race entries. Thank you for letting this runner feel like a runner again!

Tell me about a race or performance that might not have been your best but was everything you wanted!

I am linking up with myself, 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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72 Comments

  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    Yayyy!!! Congrats! What a great job you did. I have to say that a $6000 purse is a little over the top, no? ha I’m so glad Alex ran it too! I don’t like when 5ks don’t have the same things. I get that half marathons are more training, but there are countless people who AREN’T runners and 5ks are big to them!!

    September 13, 2016 at 5:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hear you there. Maybe there could be an option? I don’t know.

      September 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Congrats on the great run. 1500 is the perfect sized race for me too, for all of the reasons you mentioned. I am not a big fan of races on the Lakefront Path. I’ve coached the Spring 13.1 several times and have witnessed a few others while coaching on the path and to be honest, almost every time I have witnessed a cyclist hit a runner because they are weaving to get around or trying to race past. I love the path but it gets so dangerous. I feel like I am on constant lookout for my runners the whole time. So glad you had the race that you were hoping for!

    September 13, 2016 at 5:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      The nice thing is that to the south, things aren’t quite so congested as up by Lincoln Park. Because believe me, I know what you mean!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Lefforge

    Wow, I am amazed at your journey! Congratulations on a great return – so inspiring! Glad I found your blog through Tuesdays on The Run. And anything Real Housewives is my guilty pleasure so that podcast sounds devine;).

    September 13, 2016 at 6:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Jen, I am so glad that you came to visit! Hopefully not the last time! And you MUST check out Bitch Sesh. It is AMAZING

      September 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    This is a race I’ve always wanted to do! Maybe one day I’ll be able to walk it, but for now you keep running for me dear and everyone else who can’t run.

    September 13, 2016 at 7:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You know I will. And with honor and true knowledge of what it feels like to not be able to do so.

      September 13, 2016 at 8:31 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Congrats!! You did such a good job and I’m so impressed at the practical goals you set. Def the best race you could do at the time, which is so important to remember. You are def winning!
    Such great swag and amenities too! Nice!!
    Puppy pictures???? hello!!! 🙂 🙂

    September 13, 2016 at 7:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Julie! And don’t you worry, soooo many puppy pictures to come! And also tons on IG stories!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:30 pm
  • Reply EB @ Running on E

    YAY! Great job!! So happy for you. And such a thorough recap. You even got a puppy to celebrate. 😉

    September 13, 2016 at 7:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know! I didn’t know that was included in the entry fees 😀

      September 13, 2016 at 8:29 pm
  • Reply Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness

    Great job! This really does sound like a great race for anyone who will be in the area. One of my goals for every race is not to have to stop to use the bathroom!

    September 13, 2016 at 7:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Honestly, it is quite a feat not to!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Congrats!! I am so happy for you! You worked so hard to come back fron injury and got the race you deserved – a race you’re proud of! I also love how many races are providing Nuun now.

    September 13, 2016 at 7:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! I was surprised that I actually liked the Nuun! Usually I don’t!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:27 pm
  • Reply Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    YAY! Congrats! So awesome to read because I can sense your enthusiasm and share in your accomplishment. A similar race for me was this past February (Princess Half #4) as it was my first race post (last year’s) injury. It was slower than I would have liked but I ran it with my cousin and felt good the entire time.

    September 13, 2016 at 7:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is what is most important. Now we just have to get you back on track again!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm
  • Reply kat

    Girl way to go out there and kick that course’s booty!! I’m so happy that you were able to accomplish your goals – as well as just get out there and totally have a great time! This seems like such a confidence booster for you too! 🙂

    September 13, 2016 at 8:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was indeed! I really needed it, thank you!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply Lesley

    Great job! It’s wonderful to feel yourself in a race. I could nitpick my Tink race, but I did the distance with minimal twinging from my knee and I did the whole thing! I couldn’t have asked for more with everything that happened in that training.

    September 13, 2016 at 8:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Cheers to that. You can’t be mad when you ran a race that you didn’t think you would be able to!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    Amazing job!!!! A half marathon is no easy accomplishment but you’ve fought so hard to come back from your back injury and you ended up with a great time! Love that Alex ran alongside the fence by the finish- true love 😉

    September 13, 2016 at 8:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was awesome. He was going to take a picture but then he said I was going too fast!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    This race was a huge success for you. I’m so glad to see you back and figuring out what works best for your body.

    September 13, 2016 at 8:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Jen. It really felt like a victory!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:22 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Yes, that’s amazing Susie! So thankful that you were healed enough to do such a wonderful time at the Half Marathon! It sounds like there was some amazing swag and a beautiful course.

    September 13, 2016 at 8:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So thankful, indeed, Emily! So thankful!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:21 pm
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Yay, I’m so happy this race went so well for you…you had me a little nervous! Running a race in Chicago is a dream of mine, I really need to plan to run there someday, and this race, with the course and all the perks, sounds awesome! Great recap!

    September 13, 2016 at 8:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You definitely need to come and run with me! That would be awesome!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:17 pm
  • Reply Sarah @ Sweet Miles

    Go girl!! This half looked like it was so much fun! I miss running long races so bad!!! Love keeping up with you though!

    September 13, 2016 at 8:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad to take you along on my races any time!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:17 pm
  • Reply Kelli @Hungry Hobby

    Dude I’m so excited for you! I remember back when you were barely getting back to walking and now your almost smashing half marathon goals. It’s crazy how our bodies recover!

    September 13, 2016 at 9:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s been a very long road, and it won’t be completely over for a while, yet, but I’m glad to have this major landmark achieved!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    YAYAHHHHH!!! WOOHOO!!! You’re such an inspiration to so many people. What an incredible comeback after (and while) dealing with so much adversity. YOU RULE.

    September 13, 2016 at 9:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      LOVE YOU. We both rule, my dear!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Pete B

    Nice job on breaking your 2 hour goal! I always thought that this race was all women’s, but looks like they switched it up this year to include us men. Maybe I’ll do it next year, but only if it’s priced under $105!

    September 13, 2016 at 11:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was pretty expensive, but I’m guessing some of that goes to getting the permissions. If nothing else, do the 5K and then finish out your ruN!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Marcia

    Awesome! Like I told you, you looked great out there when I saw you in the 2nd half. Strong! So glad Runner Suz is back! xo

    September 13, 2016 at 11:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was so awesome to see you, and I am so glad that we got to catch up before the race!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:13 pm
  • Reply Jill

    You are so fast!!! Even coming off terrible injuries and dealing with health issues. You are a true inspiration. Not just in running but also as a person. I’m so glad I ‘met’ you on the inter webs 🙂

    September 13, 2016 at 1:04 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Jill! You are the sweetest, and I am so happy to know you as well!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU. You got a dog and an amazing race all in one weekend, and with all you’ve gone through to get here, I hope feel freaking incredible 🙂

    September 13, 2016 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    Those are some great t-shirts! I love it when races offer something different than the same old branded shirt.

    September 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Me too! The details are everything!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    I love this! So great to see you so happy and wonderful that you can be happy with running your perfect race for where you are. Congrats!

    September 13, 2016 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Deborah!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    Great job, girl. I know that must’ve felt amazing.

    September 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! It definitely did!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:09 pm
  • Reply Kristen

    Wooohooo! Congrats on an awesome race and for hitting almost all of your goals! It sounds like the course was awesome, and that finisher’s shirt is really cool!

    September 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I was so so happy! Couldn’t have asked for better!

      September 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    Yayyyyyyyyyy! Way to go! Especially after facing so many challenges and now smashing your goals!!!

    September 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Kristy! It felt great 😀

      September 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    I’ve always wondered that actually – what happens when you have to pee?! Does that count towards running race time?

    September 13, 2016 at 8:41 pm
  • Reply Michelle @ Fruition Fitness

    Congrats!! That sounds like a great race…that is definitely a success! Glad to hear about it 🙂

    September 14, 2016 at 4:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Michelle!

      September 17, 2016 at 7:16 am
  • Reply Ilka

    Thanks for taking us along the course of the Run Mag Half Marathon! I love that you fulfilled almost all goals, except one tiny tiny one (your time would have been even better!!!!) Awesome running Susie! Congrats!

    September 14, 2016 at 5:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Ilka!

      September 17, 2016 at 7:15 am
  • Reply Annmarie

    CONGRATS Suz! This is awesome- so happy for you! Looks like an awesome race with amazing swag too!

    September 14, 2016 at 7:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They did a great job! Thank you!

      September 17, 2016 at 7:03 am
  • Reply Kerri Mcgrail

    Yay congrats! I loved reading this recap! You really cant beat running through the streets of Chicago and not having to worrying about transportation to the race! So awesome that you were able to make your race goals happen 🙂

    September 14, 2016 at 7:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Kerri!

      September 17, 2016 at 7:01 am
  • Reply Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales

    Congratulations on such a successful race! Feeling like yourself again as a runner is probably the BEST prize! I did a half-marathon in April and had no expectations. It was in the middle of marathon training and I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, let alone tapered! It was an incredibly hilly course but it also ended up being a PB! Haha. It was nice to go with minimal expectations but see the marathon training and hard work paying off.

    September 14, 2016 at 9:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It definitely does–think about it, if you aren’t expecting the moon, when you get the stars, it is AWESOME!

      September 17, 2016 at 6:54 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Congrats!! This sounds like a great race. Its never easy coming back to racing after an injury plus Im sure your flare up made it even harder. Glad you were able to meet so many of your goals and finish with a smile on your face!

    September 14, 2016 at 10:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It definitely did. ANd I am so thankful that it went so well!

      September 17, 2016 at 6:51 am
  • Reply San

    What a great race and awesome time. Congratulations!!

    September 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, San!

      September 17, 2016 at 6:43 am
  • Reply Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com

    Great Review! Love the tech shirts & medal 🙂

    September 25, 2016 at 9:18 am
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