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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 πŸ˜€ 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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64 Comments

  • Reply meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    Looks like so much fun. I ran the Fitness Magazine Women’s half twice in Central Park. A really good time and super cool to see only women running around you throughout the course.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Banana Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 6:07 am
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Looks like you had a blast! I do the Women’s Running half in Scottsdale every year (except this year) and it is by far my favorite. There’s so much energy around it!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…10 Healthy After School TreatsMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 6:15 am
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    One of these days I will have to come do a Chicago race! Looks like a blast with lots of weekend activities. The closest thing I’ve done like that would be RnR Vegas. Now that’s a race to do!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Grab and Go Panera GoodnessMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 6:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha I bet they have quite the cast of characters there!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Erica {Erica@EricaDHouse.com}

    Looks like an amazing race! Love the pre-race yoga that they put together. My kind of weekend.
    Erica {Erica@EricaDHouse.com} recently posted…40 Week Update: Still pregnant!My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 6:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They did a fabulous job!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply Heather@hungryforbalance

    I love the idea of a full weekend of events! Especially the candlelight yoga!
    Heather@hungryforbalance recently posted…Caramelized Onion, Wilted Greens, and Honeyed Goat Cheese Socca PizzaMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I was so impressed with the quality of everything!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Totally going to run this next year. Love everything about it, looks like such an amazing race!
    Annmarie recently posted…Honestly Delicious: Uncle Andy’s Jerky Review + GiveawayMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:09 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY

      September 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Looks like a fun race and pre-race yoga is always a good idea.
    BUT……where are the post-race food pictures? You know that is what I am here for πŸ˜‰
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Quinoa Sushi by David @ SpicedMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      hahahaha I had to split it up a bit–the better food pic was Saturday’s brunch

      September 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Wow, ice and cold towels? That is awesome, great perks. And so cool to meet Lauren Fleshman! I really need to run a race in Chicago!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Recap–Week 9My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:30 am
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Looks like such a fun and well-organized race! I haven’t done a women’s only race.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Dynamic Stretches for Runners + Pre-Run Warm Up RoutineMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This is a fantastic race. Totally recommend it.

      September 8, 2015 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Gretchen

    Sounds like a fantastic race! Such a thorough review..really helpful Suz. I would definitely do this race if I lived in the area..mostly so I could meet Lauren πŸ™‚ I think it’s great that they have pacers for different types of runners. I haven’t seen that yet but that’s a great idea!
    Gretchen recently posted…Half Marathon Training ThoughtsMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m thinking there should be a racecation coming next year!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    This sounds like such a fun event! I love that they had so many other things going on besides just the race. And nice selfie with Lauren Fleshman!!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…LDW and Route 66 Marathon Training Week 5My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m not going to lie, I felt really bad because I forgot that my timer was on 5 seconds rather than 2 and it took forever. … oops.

      September 8, 2015 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Michele

    This looks like such a fun race! I always say I want to start running races for fun, one day I will I’m sure, maybe even in a costume! I think a crown is good practice πŸ™‚
    Michele recently posted…Sentence per Picture – Wedding in Central ParkMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 7:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And for ONE DOLLAR. Plus, instant head band and quite comfy!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Chaitali

    I love that they had pacers for people who were doing run/walk intervals too. I’ve never seen that before. And I like this trend of having necklaces as medals at women focused races. I haven’t done one yet but I would definitely be interested. I was sad when the Nike Half Marathon didn’t come back to DC. Maybe I’ll have to travel to them in the future πŸ™‚
    Chaitali recently posted…Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training – week 9My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 8:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I thought that the walk/run pacing was fantastic, and so great for people doing their first half marathons. I wouldn’t mind getting a Tiffany necklace in any capacity!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Jamie

    I ran the Nike Women’s Half in DC… and I know at least two men ran, my boss at Nike at the time, and my boyfriend. I believe his famous quote was “I thought I’d want to be surrounded by this many women… but now it just seems like a bad idea” haha. Totally overwhelmed. I ran the Runners World 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon, Heartbreak Hill festival last summer. It was a ton of fun!! Hope you have a fabulous Tuesday πŸ™‚
    Jamie recently posted…All the (Holiday Week/end) Miles 8/31 – 9/6My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 8:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I want to do the Runners World Weekend this fall, but it isn’t going to happen.
      That is hilarious what your boy said. Some guys just can’t handle the estrogen.

      September 8, 2015 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply Erica @ erica finds

    I am a fan of Women’s races (except the Race for the Cure) – real races like this one and the Women’s Mini 10K in NYC and the More Half Marathon. This weekend was so terrific. I loved the yoga and better planned and managed fun run and expo location. If only we could control the weather. I loved the 5K and I may do it every year! The half course has no shade and in the heat it is no bueno!
    Erica @ erica finds recently posted…Tried it Tuesday: Quick Pickle Kit Redux #GiveawayMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 8:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree, though I felt like we had a little bit better shade this time around, for some odd reason. But I know what you mean. I thought they did a great job!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    I’m really glad they took care of you guys out there in regards to the heat. This time of year is such a gamble. It can go either way. Glad you had so much fun and no, I’ve never run in a crown, but I ran a race wearing a tutu and a coconut bra!
    Suzy recently posted…A Hole In the RubberMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 8:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahaha and how was the chafing?

      September 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Mattie @ Comfy & Confident

    Looks like a fun race! I have not raced in a while! I am long overdue!

    September 8, 2015 at 8:40 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This was only my 3rd race of the year, first half, and I didn’t even race it! I wonder how I would do if I really raced…

      September 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Looks like a fabulous race! That yoga looks amazing and yay for a Canadian company sponsoring and getting their name out there.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…About me…A to Z!My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 9:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You know I love my Canadian friends πŸ˜€

      September 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    This race seems SO cool. Not because of the race itself, but because of all the “extras.” And it’s not that expensive as far as halves go. I would totally do this!
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Charles Street 12 (1:28:41)My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 9:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Um…. race date?

      September 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm
  • Reply Rae

    Wow, sounds like a super fun event! I wish we had more big deal races like this in my area.
    Rae recently posted…Tardy Tuesday – 09/08/15My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 10:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They did a fantastic job!

      September 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Jill

    My fave womens only race is the Baltimore Womens Classic 5k in Juky every year. I’ve never done a women’s only half but I’d love to! I love the comraderie of running with all the ladies! And you & that crown are something else my friend!!
    Jill recently posted…A Few Things FridayMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 10:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Me too! I loved that everyone was so supportive πŸ˜€

      September 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Shawna

    some of my girlfriends went to the Lole event here last week and didn’t tell me about it, and i had never heard of it, and saw their pix later, and i wasn’t happy. πŸ™‚ glad you had fun, looks awesome! glad you had a good race, too.
    Shawna recently posted…2 Things TuesdayMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      FIGHT THEM

      September 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    I would not have been able to leave the shopping festival! LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Give Me Some Sugar, Sweet Lips!My Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha no you wouldn’t have!

      September 10, 2015 at 11:19 am
  • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

    Oh, it was so hot and humid, but you’d never know it looking at you. I didn’t run this weekend, I kayaked on Lake Michigan instead. It was much cooler. πŸ˜‰ Congrats on finishing, Susie. Not that you wouldn’t have.

    September 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ooooo kayaking sounds like fun! Was it super choppy? There are days when I think that it would be awesome out there, some days not so much.

      September 10, 2015 at 11:19 am
      • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

        It wasn’t bad. The boats provided some fun chop, but nothing too scary. I hope we get one more nice weekend to do it again.

        September 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Erin's Inside Job

    Remember that time I almost died? That was lame.
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…Magnificent Mile Women’s Half MarathonMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I told you there was a 5k option but NNNNNNNNoooooooooooooooooooooo

      September 10, 2015 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Emily

    Wow, this looks like a super fun race. And your face expressions never fail to crack me up Susie. πŸ˜‰
    Emily recently posted…Thankful Tuesday: My Love for the MountainsMy Profile

    September 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m too small to contain the giant personality within me!

      September 10, 2015 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Kristen

    This race sounds amazing! If it wasn’t so hot I’d be flying out to run it next year! Any suggestions for some cooler/less humid races like this in Chicago?
    Kristen recently posted…It’s Finally Fall!My Profile

    September 9, 2015 at 1:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There are some fun races in March, April, and May! And lots of October races! You play a bit of roulette with the weather, regardless. But looooots of races to choose from, of all distances.

      September 10, 2015 at 11:21 am
  • Reply lindsay

    my husband used to race with jessie (lauren’s husband). they are fun! and so is this race! and so are you!
    lindsay recently posted…Balsamic-Glazed Pears on Gluten Free Rye Toast – Vegetarian Recovery Meal!My Profile

    September 9, 2015 at 6:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You are too much!

      September 10, 2015 at 11:18 am
  • Reply EB @ Running on E

    This sounds like a great, well done event. In my experience, sometimes the ladies themed multievent things can be a cluster, but this one sounds like it has it’s stuff together and really does a good job!
    EB @ Running on E recently posted…September StrengthMy Profile

    September 9, 2015 at 7:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I totally agree. I was really impressed with the fact that it was super classy and still women’s focused!

      September 10, 2015 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Mar @ Mar on the Run

    This looks like an amazing half marathon!! Noted for the future πŸ˜‰ so much good stuff and activities going on.
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…Health Coaching at Georgetown, Part IMy Profile

    September 9, 2015 at 8:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Come and visit??

      September 10, 2015 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Anna @ Piper's Run

    Looks like you’ve had too much fun! Love the crown and I’ve only ever dressed like a pirate and Olaf! This weekend I’ll be dressing up as a pirate again – obviously not running my half but volunteering.
    PS – Ran 5k tonight and had no pain! This tape job is doing a mighty fine job at the moment!
    Anna @ Piper’s Run recently posted…MRW Training Recap Week #11 & What Would Have Been Week #12My Profile

    September 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      SO SO glad that your foot is feeling better. That makes me feel so better. I think not running the half is the smart move, but find yourself another race to make up for it!

      September 10, 2015 at 11:16 am
  • Reply Farrah

    That candlelight yoga class looks like fun! πŸ˜€ That looks like an awesome race, and yay for massages afterward! :O

    September 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      If only the line hadn’t been too long wwaaaahhhhh

      September 10, 2015 at 11:13 am

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