Rock the loopPosted by in Miles
With more than 25,000 registered runners, the 2nd Annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon was described as a 13.1 mile block party. Fast and flat, the August 1 race featured local bands at every mile and cheer stations throughout. Chicago did not disappoint and crowds turned out to show support all along the way.
In an attempt to beat the heat and humidity, the race started promptly at 6:30 a.m. While the weather was nearly perfect at the start, this was short-lived. As the race progressed, it became increasingly hot and humid.
Starting and ending at Grant Park, the course took runners over the Chicago River, past Chicago Theatre and Sears Tower, behind the convention center, and along the Lakefront Path. Ample water and Cytomax stations were sprinkled throughout with one that included GU around mile 10. The most welcome course offering may have been the wet sponge station during the 2nd half of the race. That cold stream of water down your head and neck can reinvigorate you for a mile or two.
The event had all that fans of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series have come to expect. In addition to the bands along the way, there was a packed expo (featuring Brooks, GU, Garmin, Larabar, and loads of free samples), well-organized gear check, effectively staggered wave starts, family reunion areas, beer courtesy of MGD 64, and a race medal that’s even “cooler” than last year’s. The post-race concert was headlined by Five for Fighting.
Looking over the Facebook Page (which has more than 8000 fans), it’s evident that others also consider the event a success. Accolades and feelings of accomplishment abound. Expect to see the grey and yellow technical tee worn with pride by runners throughout the country.
The event benefited the American Cancer Society and more than $258,000 has been raised to benefit the charity so far through the DetermiNation program.
Perhaps also noteworthy, the pre-race emcee was Access Hollywood’s Maria Menounos who interviewed a few of the course’s reality TV “celebrity” runners. They included The Bachelor’s Jake Pavelka (2:23 finish), Apprentice winner Bill Rancic’s wife Giuliana (2:20 finish), and ‘Real’ NYC Housewife Kelly Bensimon (2:21 finish). But perhaps the most awkward interview was the tense exchange between The Today Show’s Al Roker and Menounos. Her question about his nipple protection was greeted with what felt like a slight slam to her reporting ability and distinct laugh. The 55-year-old New Yorker finished his race in 3:20.
Photos were taken by ASI Photo and runners can download their finisher’s certificate online at asiphoto.com.
The 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago will be held on Sunday, August 21. Registration is already open at chicago.competitor.com.
Last year, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago replaced the Chicago Distance Classic. The resulting half marathon is now part of Elite Racing’s rapidly growing Rock ‘n’ Roll race series. Other cities include Philly, Virginia Beach, Nashville, and Las Vegas. New races being launched later this year include Rock ‘n” Roll Denver on October 17 and Rock ‘n’ Roll LA on October 24.
In it’s second year, the race has already grown by more than 10,000 runners.