I ran the home team charity run again this year with my sister in law Mary, a fun little race that benefits the Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox charities. Last your was the inaugural event and the 10K course took us from the United Center down to the south side for a finish in the US Cellular field parking lot. This year was a little different as they concentrated the course around US Cellular and that gave them the flexibility to fit in a 5K as well.
The weather was about the same as last year, a bit cold and damp at the start but no rain, and a little bit of sunshine and a warm-up for the finish and post race festivities.
Since the course was basically an out and back, this allowed the organizers to have the 5K runners follow the same route as the 10K runners, and just turn around at the 2.5K mark for their return. The 10K runners ran out to our 5K half way point and then turned around for our return. The 10K runners got a 15 minute head start which lessened the overlap at the point where our return leg mixed in with their return leg.
One benefit of the 10K was the on field (warning track) finish. The 5K runners started and finished at the same line outside the stadium, but the 10K runners entered that back of the stadium and picked up the warning track in center field, made a left and ran in front of the right field bleachers, past the visitors dug out and finish just before home plate.
We got to mingle for a few moments around home plate for pictures before heading up the stairs (right past our season seats pictured at right here) to the exit down the ramp into the parking lot for the post race pizza, beer (or coffee) and the entertainment.
The pizza and coffee lines were huge so Mary and I went over to the beer corral for our free beer. The two guards did not even card me (sad for me ego). We downed our cup and walked around the lot to see what else they had going on. In addition to the refreshments, the were post race massages, autographs with some of the Chicago sports legends and you could get your picture taken with the 2005 White Sox World Series trophy or one of the he Bulls NBA Championship trophy. We opted to avoid the lines and just relax and enjoy the moment.
All in all it was an excellent race and I recommend it for a good starter race if you are training for a half marathon or a full marathon this year. Thank you to all the volunteers. We will surely be attending next year.