A  Very Cold Mardi Gras Chaser 10k

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Back On My Feet Mardi Gras Chaser 10k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

The 2017 Mardi Gras Chaser 10k/5k was a cold morning with temps in the mid 20s and wind chills at around 10 degrees. Winds were over 20mph out of the WNW and there was also some snow flurries during the race. The weather wouldn’t have been so bad if temps weren’t in the 60s the day before. The date of the race was February 27th at 10:00am CST.

Proceeds from this race went to Back on My Feet Chicago. BOMF is an organization which helps the homeless get back on their feet through running.  Please, if you are in Chicago, or any other major city with a BOMF program, check them out and consider volunteering.  

Registration

There were different registration prices.  The first was on the first day and first hour of registration.  If you registered during that hour, you could register for $10!  Tina took advantage of the $10 registration price.  From there the price went up. Race day registration was available for $55.  

Packet Pickup

You had a couple of options for packet pickup.  First one was held the day before the race at Fleet Feet Sports Old Town.  This was from 10AM till 8PM. This is a great option for those who live in Chicago.  Truthfully, if I did live in Chicago, I would have taken advantage of this.  The other option was great for out of towners who was just coming in for the race.  Race day packet pick up was open at the race location from 8:00-9:30AM. And to make it even better, unlike other Chicago races, race day packet pickup was free!

Swag

Everyone who registered, including race day registrations receive a long sleeve, quarter zip jacket. I would maybe suggest another color other than white but the blue stitching does make it look nicer.

 Also, for the 10k finishers there was a finishers medal on a beaded necklace in true Mardi Gras fashion.  Added bonus, if you completed the F3 Half 4 weeks earlier, you received a Frozen Feet Frost Bitten Challenge medal.  

Each participant also received a free beer at the post race party.  More on the post race party later. 

Parking

For once, a Chicago race that was located in an area with free parking! Hallelujah!!! For me, I hate paying $20 to pay to park for a race. Parking was located right on the road right by the start/finish area.  The sooner you arrived, the closer your parking. 

Other Amenities 

There were port a potties lined up on the south end of the field.  Pre race lines were about 5-10 people long and were moving fairly quickly so I believe there were enough.  They also had a couple hand washing stations.  Gear check was available to all runners.  Since our car was fairly close to the starting line, I just left my gear in the car but it’s a nice option to have.  After you finished, you were given a heat sheet blanket simevwater, banana and an array of goodies from Bimbo Bakery.  Also, there was a photographer at the finish for finishing photos.  

Course

The course was a flat, out and back route along the Lake Front Path.  I have done a few races now on the LFP but this was on a different section than I have ran on before so it was nice to see a new area.  The race starts and Finishes at Montrose Harbor. There were 4 or 5 aid stations on the course with water and Gatorade.  Atvthe turn around, you could also grab a Clif bar.  Despite the cold weather, the volunteers were very loud and encouraging.  They seemed very excited to be out there. The race also had every mile marked accurately.  

Race

Prior to the race, corrals were opened up for self seeding.  There were volunteers holding up large signs with pace per mile on them so that runners knew were to start.  The national anthem was played and the 10k race was on!  The 5k started 5 minutes after. The race, as mentioned earlier was on the LFP which offered plenty of room to run from start until the 5k turn around at around mile 4.75.  At this point the 5k walkers were approaching the turn around and made for a crowded finish.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if they weren’t walking 3 or 4 across.  I really don’t have much of a recommendation on how to correct this issue. 

Awards

Awards were to the top male and female of each distance.  There were no age group awards but with the 1/4 zip jacket, I think you get your money’s worth.  I wouldn’t have been disappointed if they didn’t do finishers medals.  I would be ok if they would have kept that money for Back on My Feet. 

Post race party

The post race party was held at Fat Cats about a mile from the race location.  On a warmer day, it wouldn’t be a bad walk, but we drove.  There you can redeem you tab on your bib for your free beer. You could also indulge in their New Orleans theme buffet for $15. The best thing on the buffet hands down had to be the banana foster frech toast.other items included eggs, bacon, biscuits, jams, beans and rice, Greek yogurt bar and more!  So good! Great post race atmosphere to just hang out with friends.  

Overall I think this is a very well organized race, plus the cause is very important.  We will see what my schedule is like next year, maybe I will come back.  

My race

Tina and I arrived shortly after 8:00, so plenty early.  We quickly were joined by other BibRave Pros, Heather (along with her mom Marge), and Angie (along with her husband Josh). We talked for a little bit and then went back to our cars to get warm after getting our gear at packet pickup.  Another BibRave Pro, Frank, arrived a little later.  We were able to get together for a group photo and then I headed out to do a couple mile warm up.

I struggle with later morning races.  For me, my body is used to running early and just doesn’t adjust to the 10:00 AM (11:00 est) start.  It’s nice, when traveling to Chicago to have an extra hour or two for a little extra sleep, but my body still doesn’t like it.  

The goal for the race was to place in the top 10, and if there were divisions, win my divisions. If those goals didn’t happen and things just turn south, try not to run a mile slower than 6:45. 

The cold weather really got to me early.  It had been a week since I ran in really cold weather and my lungs were feeling in within the first 2 miles.  I probably went out too fast the first mile, after that I tried to hold it back some.  

The race became tougher after the turnaround as we were facing the wind more and my mile splits were showing it. As I have said in past race reviews, I enjoy out and backs because then you see other runners and get to encourage one another and give a hi five. Photo credit to BibRave Pro Heather

My splits for the race:

  1. 6:15
  2. 6:20
  3. 6:32
  4. 6:38
  5. 6:56
  6. 6:42photo credit to Heather

Finishing time 40:29.  I finished 11th overallanf if there were age divisions, I would have finished 2nd place.  For the weather conditions, I am not too disappointed.  Even if i didnt run as well as I would have liked, it was great to spend the day with a great group of runners.  Photo credit to Angie

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