This year I got the opportunity to run a race I had been trying to run for years- the Bucktown 5k! This race seems to have a sizable following and is known for being a great alternative to the many lakefront races. This race is also known for having above-average swag items. This year, the swag item was a hooded technical fabric hoodie with the Chicago flag as the design. It looked great, but myself and many other runners found the material to be cheap.
I signed up for the race about 90 days out and found there to be a moderate amount of communication via email. Most emails referred you to their website, which is a little annoying for me. I'd rather they occasionally give me updates right in the email, but not a big deal. One major thing I noticed and heard about from other runners was the lack of instruction about how to get to the race start, where to park, how much parking was going to cost, etc.
The start line utilized corrals A-K, with runners placed based on projected pace (except for corral A, which required submitting a previous race time). The corrals were then released every 2 minutes.
The race course is one of the best parts- it's through very quaint and cute neighborhoods in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood. That meant most of the streets were shaded and had quite a few families out in front of their homes cheering for the race. That was so fun to see!
Around 1.5 miles, an aid station that had Nuun then water was available. I'm very strongly against Nuun on race courses, but that's not a huge deal for a 5k.
The finish line was lively with lots of spectators cheering and fun music playing. This wasn't a PR race for me, since I am in training for the Chicago Marathon and had run 20 miles the morning before, but I still did well and enjoyed myself.
Overall, I had a really good time! I run my fair share of races, most in Chicago, and really cannot say I've had this much fun in a while! I would recommend this race to anyone.