As a proud Northwestern graduate I signed up for the BTN Big 10K - I even convinced one of my fellow alumni to come to Chicago to run this race with me.
Packet Pick-up: Super easy because I had someone do it for me. If I had to do it myself it would have been a pretty big pain because the only pick-up location was Fleet Feet-Old Town which is not particularly convenient for me.
Shirt/Goody bag: Thankfully, I like purple. When you registered you were able to choose a school specific shirt with a base or accent color that corresponds to your school color. It’s a nice tech-t and I’ll definitely wear it again. There was also a nice nylon drawstring bag.
Getting there: I shared a cab with two runner friends and it cost about $20 which would have been the same as the cost to park. Frankly, had I known it would have been $20 to park I probably would have driven down since after the race we had to walk to the L and shell out a combined $6.75 to get home. Overall it wasn’t much of a problem though – our pre-arranged cab was on-time and the drop off area was close to the start area.
Start area: I’ll admit – I totally thought that this race was going to be a shit-show filled with a bunch of fratty douchbags, but I’ll admit that I was wrong. There were a ton of port-a-potties, and there were corrals for a well-organized wave start. I had somehow qualified for Corral B (I have no idea……) but my friends were in Corral D & Corral I so we all just went back to Corral I and decided to jog the race and enjoy the run. Maybe runners further up were more uptight, but back in Corral I everyone was pretty nice and chill. The course was a little crowded – as all races that are on the path are – but it was never claustrophobic and we could always get around slower people when we needed to. The course was similar to Soldier Field – head south under McCormick Place keep going on LSD to the Path, cut over a small grassy area and back on the inner Path behind McCormick Place, around the Shedd and back by the Adler Planetarium where we started out.
Post Race: Bottles of water and Gatorade, great snacks - snack packs of Snyders Pretzel products and various cookies and crackers (Nutter Butters, mini Oreos, Cheez Its, etc. - and they had PLENTY - no stinginess with the snacks), and bananas. There was a little bit of a back up because the medals hadn't been unpacked, but the volunteers handing out the medals had a great attitude and were joking around so it wasn't so bad to have to wait a couple of minutes. According to the tabs on my bib I could have gotten a pair of cheapo sunglasses, a beer and some sort of sausage but since my friends and I were heading to brunch we didn't want to fill up - plus the lines looked pretty hellish.
Additional Stuff: All the Big 10 team mascots were there in varying degrees of creepiness. I went to NU but wasn’t much of a sports fan so this was my first close-up look at most of the other teams mascots. Goldy the Gopher looked sort of matted and worn, the Nittany Lion looked really chintzy, and the Purdue Boilermaker was absolutely terrifying – his big plastic head had dead-eyes. The Wisconsin Badger was pretty good as was Sparty the Spartan and of course, Willie the Wildcat brought his A-game. Apparently there are two new teams in the Big 10 and the Maryland Terrapin looks like a turd in a shell – sorry, but it’s the truth.
What I wore: I’ll admit to enjoying a good costume if it’s not going to get in the way of my running and since I knew we were just going to jog this race I went all out in the purple garb. Purple Saucony Kinvara 3’s, purple Balega socks, lavender Zensah compression calf sleeves, a lavender Lululemon running skirt, a lavender Nike Pro-Compression sports bra, a real NU practice hockey jersey (white w/purple shoulders and N logo ), and a purple Sweaty Band headband. It’s kind of funny considering I never had that much school spirit when I actually went to NU. One of the BTN reps walking around convinced me to try for the female school spirit award but when I found out I would have to go on stage and mug for the crowd I declined – I’m not much of a showperson. The jersey was m-f-ing hot despite the little perforations in the fabric and I wouldn’t recommend running in one. Luckily it was fairly cool out and I didn’t overheat.
I understand that there were a number of runner complaints about this race but none from me – I enjoyed myself and would do the race again.