A blog by runners. For runners.

Avoid the Chicago Turkey Trot

Melissa and I ran the 29th Annual Turkey Trot sponsored by Momentum yesterday. Parking was great although we really should have walked down since it was so close. The parking was the only positive thing we experienced after that regarding race logistics. We arrived almost an hour before the start so we wandered around the few sponsor tents before going for a walk to keep warm. The temperature started at around 40 degrees but was climbing every hour. Of course there were the usual annoyances of racing with people bumping into you and standing far too close to allow you to start running at the line so that couldn't be helped.
The course was well thought out but the 4447 runners allowed to race meant that the whole race was one long traffic jam. The course would have better suited a field of runners half the size. The result of all this meant people getting off the running path to overtake with a few people twisting ankles as we went by. The worst part of the race were the aid stations, placed at points where the path was too narrow or one 10 yards after a large pothole. The runners typically ran 6 or 8 people wide so as we approached the pothole everyone dived out of the way at the last minute and then 10 yards later were expected to condense to 3 abreast to pass the aid stations on both side. If the two people on each side each stopped that left a channel for a stream of single runners to get through if they didn't want water.
After the run we were corralled through a gate wide enough for just two people into the post-race food area which soon became so crowded people could barely cross the finish line before stopping in the line for bananas, bagels and gatorade.
The race shirts we received were a plus from the perspective that it was a technical t-shirt but the crazy purple and yellow color makes it a closet stuffer.
We ran the race together and Melissa beat her 8k PR set last year at the better organized PAWS 8k with a time of of 47:35, knocking just over 4 minutes off her time! I came in 239th in my division of 372, Melissa 233rd of 630.
We both agreed that we wouldn't run this race again unless there are considerable changes to the race format.