Thursday, September 1, 2016

rock the night 5k recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry for RAM Racing Rock the Night 5k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

BibRave Pros ready to rock it ;)

You can read my shorter Pros/Cons list of the race here.

I have participated in the Rock the Night 5k the past two years and when my calendar had me free on the new race night for the event, I knew I'd participate for the third year - no question. The race location was still basically the same – Soldier Field (like 2014 on the Stadium Green rather than the South Lot that was 2015).

Frank, me, Eric

Registration through RAM Racing events is very easy. I'd recommend everyone to create an account if you haven't already – it makes looking up your future races, past races, adding packet mailing so much easier. I love that you can add mailing at a later date and that you don't have to decide when registering if you need it. I often times am registering so early for an event that packet pickup details aren't out yet, so it's hard to know whether I'll be able to go or if mailing will be needed. The mailing packet option closes three weeks prior to the event and costs $15.

It was a beautiful summer night.

In previous years, the Rock the Night 5k was held on a Thursday in July. This year it was on Friday, August 26. The race started at 7pm and the after party went until 9. Packet pickup could be done on Thursday a Fleet Feet Old Town from 10am – 8pm or on race day at the race site from 3–6pm. I couldn't get into the city on Thursday, so grabbed my packet at about 5pm on race day. Traffic wasn't as bad as I was expecting for a Friday evening, so that was nice. We parked at Waldron Deck for $20 and popped on over to grab our packets (and by we I'm speaking about my mom and I), which was quick and simple—they can look you up by name or scan the QR code from your registration confirmation email.

We put our shirts and bags in the car, got our gear ready, and then with 1.5 hours till race time we found a bench and sat for a bit. Frank was there early too, so we met up and hung out/chatted about upcoming races. Then Eric arrived so we met up with him and had some laughs. We took some photos and then eventually had to get into our corrals. Those speedsters hopped on into A and mom and I headed towards the back.

Before the start.

The race started at 7pm, with Corral A and then Corral B/C started at about 7:03. The course took you from Waldron Drive, down to the street that leads you under McCormick Place Tunnel (most runners hate this  – it gets pretty dark in there and lots of uneven surface), there was a water and Nuun stop just before the turn around at mile 1.5, and then you ran north on the lakefront path until you reached the finish line (same as the start). 

Mile markers, clocks, and I saw a lot of Event Alert signs up on the path.

Weather was pretty nice for an evening summer race. I believe it was in the 70s with mid-to-high humidity. After the finish you received a bottle of water. At the post-race party (on the Soldier Field Stadium Green) when we finished Maggie Speaks was already playing and people were out having a good time. With a tab on your bib you could redeem for your Amylu sausage (spicy or savory) and a beer from Bell's Brewery. The line at Amylu was almost not existent, as there were so many volunteers around to help pass them out. Bell's was a bit longer, but didn't take too long to get through. They had two options  – Oberon and Oatsmobile. I will admit that the past two years they had cheeseburgers and ears of corn, so was a bit disappointed in the sausage option. This is purely personal, as I'm not much of a sausage fan, but love cheeseburgers haha.

Photo Cred: Frank.
Thanks buddy!

Eric left around 8:15, so after a quick chat on how everyone's races were we said our goodbyes. Frank stuck around a bit longer to grab a beer with us and talk and then eventually around 8:45/9 we said goodbye and all headed out.

Some perks of RAM Racing events are free photos, runner tracking, and cool swag. The shirts this year were a bit plain, but still cool. They were black with some mesh type paneling on the side seams (hard to explain exactly what it looked like) with a small reflective logo on the front corner of the chest. They were short sleeve tech shirts that fit true to size. Runners also received a frisbee and drawstring backpack with their shirt and bib.

Enjoying a cold brew on a warm evening. Rehydrating. Am I doing it right?

This is such a fun race with a laid-back atmosphere. People are out there having fun, and some crushing PRs. You get a good mix of all runners and it's well organized with all the info you need on the website and in emails. I've said it a lot recently, as I've been running a lot of RAM Racing events, but they really do a great job making the experience fun for all. Definitely a good time had by most, if not all, and I plan on coming back in 2017.

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