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
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),
long sleeve tech shirt (men’s and women’s options),
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!!
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
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 Corner, Patty, 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.