Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chicago Santa Hustle 5K Race Report and Video

On December 1st we joined about 8,000 others in the Santa Hustle 5K. The race start/finish and after-party location was the south side of Soldier Field. What makes this 5K unique is your race shirt is a tech shirt made to look like Santa's outfit and comes with a Santa hat and beard. Participants are encouraged to wear these items for the race. Another unique feature was the offering of cookies and candy along the course.

December in Chicago can equate to grey skies, nasty winds, snow, and freezing temperatures. Luckily, we experienced sun and temps in the 40's.

The pre-race area had lots of giant inflatable balloons: snowmen, reindeer, and Santas. Also on display were two reindeer. There was a sleigh somewhere for photo opps but we didn't use it.

We're not "joiners", but we're also not hipsters either, so doing a race with a dress code was a bit out of our element. We have to admit..... It was pretty cool to see everyone dressed similar or in-theme. Dave had a better beard than Holly, but both of us were spitting out the loose whiskers all morning.  Don't eat with this thing on.

Corralling was setup for paces from 6.5 minute miles up through 13 minute miles. Corrals were self-seeding and corrals crossed the start a few minutes apart. Nice feature: rows of porta-potties in the corrals. The course would head south: through the McCormick Place Tunnel, then follow Lake Shore Drive down, and come back north on the lake shore path.

We lined up in the 11 minute/mile corral, which was not the appropriate place for Dave - he should have been back further. But we found out very quickly that most folks were treating this as a fun/family run so many people in our corral were strolling. Once we entered the McCormick Place Tunnel we lost our satellite signals (this fact becomes important later) on our GPS watches - which is common. Once we emerged from the tunnel we were in full-sun and near mile marker 1 and the cookie station.

The turnaround took us onto the lake shore path. At the turn around you had a water/Gatorade station. This is where the course narrowed substantially. There were lots of folks walking in groups of two+ across with groups overlapping each other - so we were weaving quite a bit.  A bit further up was Mile marker 2 and the candy station. We were handed decent-sized cups of mini M&M's.

The rest of the course finished up along the lake. We passed bythe prairie restoration area, McCormick Place, and Burnham Harbor. The finish line chute was stocked with waters, candy canes, bananas, and granola bars. Back in the runner's village there was a self-serve area with milk and cookies.

Dave thought he got a 3+ minute PR by walking the course in just under 40 minutes. We're not quite sure the course was a true 3.1 miles long. Our Garmins showed us 2.86 miles, but maybe they didn't compensate for the McCormick Tunnel. Dave was a little skeptical when he hit the 2 mile mark at 26:40. We checked the Facebook Page for the race and found other people had the same comments, but then other folks said their devices registered 3.1 miles or more. ASM posted this notice on the race page:

Oh well..... We had a fun time at the race and would consider doing it again. We attended one of the after-parties held at several pubs in the city. It was kind of fun to be in a bar with everyone still dressed as Santa.

Check out our video from the race below:

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