Breakdown: Strategically timed for the day before the Chicago Pride Parade, Proud to Run makes use of a few rainbows at the finish line, but otherwise plays it pretty straight, starting on Simmonds Drive in Montrose Harbor and finishing up on the nearby trail close to the beach. Despite being in its thirty-first year, this joint 5K/10K event coordinated by Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Chicago still feels like a plucky startup—a grassroots effort free of corporate sponsorship, complete with energetic volunteers and a long race-day packet-pickup line. With around 1,350 people participating in both distances (with slightly more running the 10K than the 5K) the race announcer’s use of a bullhorn at the starting line to get things going was a bit ineffective, but once the race started the course was clearly marked and plenty wide. The post-race food included cream cheese to spread on your bagels (a quirky, welcome first in my racing experiences) and a raffle had some great prizes from Universal Sole.
Price: $35(early registration)/$40(race day)
Course: Open course starting in Montrose Harbor and hitting up familiar areas along the Lakefront Trail north to Foster and south to Belmont Harbor (for the 10K). The 5K and 10K courses started off together and split apart in between the second and third miles. Using different trails on the out and back sections where possible kept things from feeling repetitive and the three water stations served the course well. Not all the miles had timers.
Organization (gear check, etc.): Race-day packet pickup was a bit of a slog but gear check was incredibly friendly and organized. Energetic pre-race workout by a Know No Limits trainer was fun.
Goodie Bag (includes shirt): Very wearable white running shirt with a cool logo. Nothing else, which means no paper wasted on flyers but also no goodies.
Weather: No one would have complained if it was a little cooler but light clouds prevented the sun from feeling too hot, providing overall great weather for a morning run. (Zach Freeman)