Saturday, August 6, 2016

Race Review: Chicago Big 10k

Think August is too hot to run a race?  Think again!  This one has become a bit of an annual tradition for my mom and me, and it seems to be getting bigger and better every year (2016 marks its 5th anniversary).  The Big Ten Network 10k (they also have a 5k) brings fans of Big 10 teams together, along with anyone just looking for a nice race in the middle of summer.  This is a no brainer for me because I can combine a trip back to my home town, a run with my mom, and a chance to represent my Alma Mater (Northwestern) all in one!
Generally, you don't see many people wearing their race shirts for the actual race, but this one is a bit different because it's all about school pride.  When you register, you indicate which school you want, but there is also an "unaffiliated" option that gives you a classic blue on blue look.  This race definitely has a tailgate feel - complete with mascots, cheerleaders, and fight songs.
Starting line - ready to run!
The course changed this year, giving it a more urban feel, starting right around Grant Park at the lakefront.  We got lucky today, the heat and humidity took a bit of a break.  My mom and I stuck together (per usual) and enjoyed the day.  I have to admit I did get a bit of satisfaction passing people from rival schools!  Added bonus of this race is that they serve Nuun on the course, and in case you're not aware, I'm a huge fan.
Fighting Illini meets Wildcat
As you might expect, the end of the race is a huge party, complete with games, beer (if you're so inclined), and shopping.  Registration also gets you a pair of super stylish school sunglasses.  The BTN 10k also has a great, large medal.  This year, medals came with ribbons in your school colors!  So bottom line:

Run This Race If: you went/attend a Big 10 school, like urban races with good things to look at, are looking for a summer race, like big medals and fun extras
Course: mostly flat, loop, varies between street/sidewalk/lakefront path, has staggard start corrals
What Makes It Unique: the Big 10 theme, chance to meet your favorite mascot, lots of events for adults and kids afterwords
Cost: register early and the 10k is $50, 5k is $40, and 5k for kids under 12 is $25
Date and Time: typically late July/early August, 7 AM start for the 10k 8 AM start for the 5k
Maybe we will see you out on the course next year, because I have a very good feeling I'll be back.  Happy running and go cats!

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