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Magnificent Mile Women’s Half Marathon and 5k Race Review #magmilehalf


Magnificent Mile Chicago Womens Half Marathon and 5K Race Review Suzlyfe

This weekend I ran the Magnificent Mile Women’s Half Marathon thanks to the generosity of Luna Bar, from whom I won my entry! Other major sponsors included Fleet Feet Sports (who also provided the pacing team), Class Pass, and Lole (Class Pass and Lole sponsored the yoga class Friday night). This is the ONLY half marathon that I’ve ever repeated (I entered and attended both Zooma Chicago races, but only ran one, and they were different courses from year to year).

mag mile half

See my recap of the race from last year.

Magnificent Mile Half Marathon and 5k General Info

This year the event took place Labor Day Weekend, with multiple activities throughout the weekend and the race taking place Sunday, September 6–which is a new date for the race. Both races began at 7:00 AM from the heart of Millennium Park. The major draw of this race, beyond being a race dedicated to women and the other pluses is the opportunity to run straight up the streets of Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile. This is the only race that does this in Chicago.The cost of the race changes over time, but by the time I would have registered (same price as day-of registration), the half marathon cost $90 and the 5k cost $45. Girls on the Run is the title charity sponsor.

Magnificent Mile Half Marathon and 5k Expo:

Mag Mile Half Expo Pop Up Market

The expo and registration were a three day affair, with packet pick up beginning Thursday at Fleet Feet Oak Park and then moving downtown and joining up with the Mag Mile Shopping Festival in an open air pop-up market directly on the Mag Mile and amongst some of Chicago’s most famous buildings and destinations. 

Mag Mile Half Expo Race Gear and Oiselle Roga Shorts RunChi

So not only could you visit Class Pass, Luna Bar, Chicago Endurance Sports, and Fleet Feet Sports (which had some MAJOR sales going on!) during packet pick up, you could then go and get a screen-printed bag from Nordstrom, hang out with a sloth, and check out various other vendors! A great way to do it, and lots of great interest from all. 

Magnificent Mile Half Marathon and 5k

Weekend Events:

Other than the race itself, there were other opportunities to get involved with the race. Friday night Lole and Class Pass sponsored an outdoor “candlelight” “white” yoga class led by Bare Feet Power Yoga.

Magnificent Mile Women's Half Marathon Candlelight Yoga with Lole

Khit and my (super serious) self

Khit and my (super serious) self

For $15 (pre-registered), we all received a Lole yoga mat, Lole headband, and $20 coupons to Lole as well as an invitation to Class Pass and Class Pass water bottle. Led by Ali, one of the BFPY instructors, we practiced a Vinyasa-style flow aimed to help us loosen up our running muscles. I thought that the class was very well done and accessible to all levels, plus the location couldn’t be beat! Started right on time, very well organized, major thumbs up!

Saturday morning, I was sad to miss another big draw of the event, the chance to meet up for a shake out run with Lauren Fleshman and Summer Sanders. I had coaching and already got my run in, but I got the scoop on how it went from Erica during brunch! She said that this year’s shakeout run “ran” smoothly (apparently last year’s was a bit of a cluster) and was a ton of fun. Lots of interaction with the ladies (I even saw some arm wrestling on Instagram!), and a great time. Sorry I don’t have more info! The run was free, open to all, and started at 9 AM.

Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 5k Race Day

Race Course:

mag mile half course

The course followed the exact same path as last year. A run up Columbus, left on Randolph, and then onto Michigan until Superior St (a block before Water Tower Plaza), then the 5k retraces the same path and finishes at the start. The half marathon splits off when when the 5k turns back onto Columbus and instead goes to the Lake Front Trail (LFT) and then runs south until mile 8.5 of the course before turning around and retracing until the base of Grant Park (Roosevelt Dr) and then turning onto Columbus for the finish. A very straightforward course, flat except for a few elevation changes.

Race Management:

The race started BANG on time and with several “corrals”–you self seeded yourself according to your pace. There were elite corrals. 

Magnificent Mile Half Marathon Start

I have to give a shout out to the pacers, and not just because I know many of them. There were pacers for continuous runners as well as run/walkers for certain intervals, and the pacers did a fantastic job. Plus, I felt really popular because the out and back nature of the course meant I got lots of shout outs.

I also have to mention that Chicago Endurance Sports has a training program for this race for both the half marathon and 5k! Is is very similar to our marathon training–lots of support and twice weekly sessions (the Tuesday night workouts are done together). As this is many of the runner’s first half marathon or 5k, this is a fabulous opportunity for them to have the right help during their preparation. 

Race Support and Aid:

Aid started at mile one and there were drink stations throughout with water, Gatorade, Medical, and a Luna handed out mini bars around mile 6 (?)/ Mile 9.5 (because of the turn around). Ice was handed out around Mile 5ish, and there were cold wet towels at mile 10 ish and 12.5 (Erin was very excited). The weather was very warm, and there were lots of people out checking on us to make sure that we weren’t in distress!

I will say that I was not impressed with the number of bathrooms. There were TONS at the start/finish, but few along the course. Luckily, as we were running on the LFT, there are field houses and bathrooms along the way.

Race Perks:

Something that is pretty awesome is that Lauren Fleshman (@fleshmanflyer), one of the most famous 5k runners in America, paces the 5k race, and Summer Sanders (multi-gold-medal winning swimmer and TV/media personality) runs the half marathon! Both are so incredible sweet. Summer ran in the 1:40s (I remember seeing her). 

Finish Line:

Mag Mile Women's Half Marathon Finish Selfie with Lauren Fleshman

Well, you get to high five Lauren at the finish and grab a selfie 😀 There were Luna Protein Bars, apples, water, Gatorade, Dole chocolate covered frozen bananas, pictures, and then the “medals” at the end. This year the medals were not traditional medals (as in past years) but were necklaces in the flower logo shape and engraved with the race name and date on the back. 

Magnificent Mile Chicago Women's Half Marathon Finisher Medal Necklace

Athletico was on hand for massages, Class Pass had a rolling and stretching station, Naked juice offered samples, Saucony was also there, and there were representatives for Every Mother Counts and Girls on the Run (one of the main charity sponsors and beneficiaries).

Coach Walter, Lauren Fleshman, Erin Khit, Random Bear, Dave

Coach Walter, Lauren Fleshman, Erin
Khit, Random Bear, Dave

Bottom Line:

The race was hot, but beautifully organized, scenic, and so much fun. I thought that all the hiccups of last year were fixed and this is a race I would recommend to any and all as their first or 30th half marathon! THUMBS WAY UP. Grab your girls and go run a race!

Make a weekend of your #halfmarathon or 5k! @suzlyfe did! #magmilehalf #runchi #runchat Click To Tweet

Have you ever run a race targeted specifically at women? There were 6 men registered, I believe. I knew half of them!

Have you done a race with a full on race weekend of events?

Have you ever run in a crown?

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