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Celebrating 21 In Style
Goodness gracious, Chicago–look who’s coming to your 21st birthday party. When the gun goes off at the Chicago Half Marathon and Life Time 5K this Sunday, more than 12,000 runners from all 50 states and 41 countries will be in attendance. Both novice and experienced athletes alike will toe the starting line, like the 11- and 97-year-olds participating in the half marathon and the 7- and 91-year-olds running the 5K. Though this year’s average participant age of both races is 36, the significant age spans means it’s anyone’s race to those finisher’s trophies—and while those thousands of participants are chasing them down, approximately 1,400 volunteers will be on site to help things run smoothly.
The half marathon course itself is beautiful: runners start alongside the West Lagoon east of Washington Park and wind their way north to Groveland Park before making a U-turn and bee-lining it back to Jackson Park, where the finish line will be waiting less than a mile from the start. Meanwhile, the 5K route sticks close, shadowing the half marathon’s first two miles before looping around to the finish. Both routes have picturesque waterfront views and glimpses of the city’s vast skyline.
Perhaps most important to discuss is the race hardware. There’s no breaking news here that Chicago is peddling super-cool finisher’s medals–after all, this is the same city in which the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K at the end of October has 10 diamond-trimmed medals and 500 diamond keychains up for grabs. Known as the largest finisher’s medal in the Midwest, this race’s bling weighs in at one pound and is six inches in diameter. But some half marathoners will receive a slightly different–and slightly more prestigious–medal after crossing the finish line: for those that also participated in the Chicago Spring Half Marathon earlier this spring, there’ll be an extra special Chicagoland Half Marathon Series medal waiting for them. Now there’s some bling to be proud of.