Skip to main content

Looks Like a Strong Start for the New Chicagoland Half Marathon Series

As you may have heard, this year Life Time Athletic Events and Michelob Ultra 13.1 Marathon Chicago have combined three of Chicago's most popular half marathons (the Chicago Spring Half Marathon in May, the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Marathon in June and the Chicago Half Marathon in September) to create the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series.

Notably, the Chicago Spring Half - the first event in this new series has been selling entries a lot faster than usual. In fact it's almost reached capacity already; the 10K sold out last week and the half marathon has less than 250 slots left as of this writing (last week Life Time sent out an email announcing less than 350 slots left). I took a few minutes today to catch up with Chicago Office Director for Life Time Athletic Events Matt Swartz to talk about this upcoming race. When I asked him about the surge in popularity for this race, Swartz said it's been a welcome surprise.


"This will be the first year that it will sell out," he noted. "It's kind of surprising because we've never sold out before and now we're selling out a few months beforehand." He has a theory about why this race is so popular this year: "People were staying indoors and staying warm throughout this hard winter and they really need something to look forward to in the spring." And the Chicago Spring Half is a race that Swartz has always looked forward to himself. "It's my favorite event weekend in the year," he says. "It's the one that really kicks everything off and you can see who really trained over the winter."

The start of spring and the especially hard winter might be deciding factors that improved registrations this year but after running the Chicago Spring Half for the last two years myself (okay, I only ran the 10K last year), I think the elaborate post-race picnic might have something to do with it. Swartz agrees. "The race is only as good as the celebration afterwards," he says, laughing. "That's why we have Goose Island." (Goose Island Catering handles the post-race picnic).

But Life Time won't just be coasting on the past success of this race - they're looking to expand and improve as well, especially since the race size will be growing so much this year. "We're going to be introducing a corralling system at the start line," says Swartz. "Since it does run on the Lakefront Trail we're going to be releasing corrals in a timed way and making sure things stay spaced out so runners can still have the space on the course that they're used to - it's never been an issue in the past and we want to maintain that." They're also hoping that they can time race starts appropriately so that the winner of the 10K is racing the winner of the half to the finish line.*

There's also going to be more entertainment. "We want to expand on the entertainment aspect," Swartz explains. "We're going to bring the jazz and the blues of Chicago out onto the course." Because of the route the course follows and because it takes place so early (start time for the half is 7am), Swartz knows they still need to be cognizant of those that live along the course, adding "We want to bring a little more sound to the course without waking up the whole community!"

The way race registration is going so far, it seems like the community is already waking up to this race.

The Chicago Spring Half is May 18th and there are less than 250 slots left. 

You can register on the race website: www.chicagospringhalf.com

I'll be checking back in with Swartz along the way to see how this new half marathon series is progressing. Check back later for more info!

*Side note: last year the winner of the half beat me by about 20 seconds... too bad I was only running the 10K...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Daily Guide to Chicago Comedy Shows in April 2018

April 1: Character Assassination presents The Roast of Disney Princesses at Laugh Factory The latest entry in the Character Assassination roast show series pits a collection of Disney princesses -played by Chicago comics - against each other. Starring Allison Dunne, Alex Kumin, Sarah Shockey, Gena Gephart, Audrey Jonas, Eunji Kim, Samantha Berkman, Stephanie Weber and Mandee McKelvey. April 2: Comedy Overload Open Mic at Gallery Cabaret A weekly open mic open to all forms of comedy that takes place at a sweet venue in Bucktown. April 3: Shake 'Em Up Comedy Showcase at Shakers on Clark   This free two-hour comedy showcase is hosted by Darrick J and Nate Galloway. Comics get between four and 10 minutes each and the hosts let comedians know a bit needs work by hitting a bell and "shaking 'em up." April 4: Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O'Toole's Really you should be catching this weekly showcase at Timothy O'Toole's e

Carrera de los Muertos - Race of the Dead

When we signed up for this race I had a feeling it was going to be a good one just based on the website . Carrera de los Muertos?! Race of the Dead?! Sounds sweet right? And it definitely was. Check out my Newcity review for more of a breakdown on that front. There were a ton of great costumes (mostly skull-face painting) and the base camp was in the parking lot of an UNO Charter School in Pilsen, with sweet decorations, music and food for sale. Lots of partying going on for such an early morning on a cold November day.

Life of Pi: The Pi Day Pi K Returns to Fleet Feet Stores Across Chicago

I have run a grand total of ONE time since crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in October of last year. I know, I know, I'm disgusted with me too. So when I got Fleet Feet's notice about the Pi Day "Pi K" Fun Run this coming Monday evening (3.14 - PI DAY, get it?) it seemed like a pretty solid way to get back out on the running trail without getting myself up super early or registering for a timed race where I would embarrass myself. Also, my wife and I ran this race back in 2014 and had a great time. Plus, after an article I wrote for the Tribune about xkcd creator and all-around baller Randall Munroe speaking in Chicago at an Illinois Science Council (ISC) event , I know a little more about the organization behind the Pi Day Pi K and their mission. Quick excerpt from the Trib article: Founded in 2006 by nonscientist Monica Metzler (who also serves as executive director), the ISC was created to help engage adults in science and technology