Event Details

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Chicago, IL

2014 (last date)

start time:

Half Marathon

how to enter:
Open to All

course types:
Run - Road

Incorrect info?

more info:
Official Website

Nitty Gritty Details

Enough Aid Stations:
Good for First Timers:
Enough Porta Potties:

Cool Schwag:
Course Marked Clearly:
Spectator Friendly:

Good Expo:
Good Photography:
Traffic on Course:

16 Reviews for Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon


Chicago, IL

This was my first half marathon and it was a great experience! The course was enjoyable and it never felt like there were too many runners even on the lakeshore path. Having bands every mile really made the race fun! Compared to other races I have done, there were spectators at almost every point of the race which keeps the energy up!



This was the second year for me. Also my second Half. Last year was excellent. The cheering crowd, the bands and the post race concert were top notch. I was hoping to beat last years time(2:09:13). But around mile 5 things started to go down hill for me. And I definitely lost my mojo.

The course seemed more crowded than last year. And I felt like there were less bands playing. Last years post race concert was great. I left before it started this year as I felt like crap after the finish.

If I run it next year, I will have a running buddy.


Raleigh, NC

Yesterday I completed the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. This was my first experience with a Rock n Roll series race. Overall this was an outstanding event.

You cannot be the views of downtown Chicago throughout the course. The race started and finished in Grant Park.

What was really great about the start was how they handled the wave starts. Each corral was able to start on their own. They started each corral 2 minutes apart. I was in corral 18 and I was expecting it to take me 20 minutes at least to get to the starting line. I was standing at the front of the corral, so when it was time to start I was at the front of the line. That was pretty cool to be at the starting line in front. Made me feel like an elite runner. Then we were off!

The beginning of the course took you north across the Chicago River. My wife was still at the condo when I started and she was on the balcony taking pictures. She was probably a half mile away and on the 44th floor, but she was actually able to capture me in a couple of pictures. Hard to be she caught me from that far away, but really cool for a different perspective.

We made our way through the streets north of the river going past the filming set for the new Transformer movie. Smashed cars and debris was all over the street. Pretty cool to see.

Some of the landmarks we passed were the Chicago Theater, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Art Institute, down Michigan Avenue, Soldier Field, McCormick Place and Shedd Aquirium.

The distance you run really set in when we made the turn back towards the city. The southern end of the course took you a couple of miles past McCormick place. At this point we turned back and headed back towards downtown up the bike/run path along Lake Michigan. You get a great view of the entire skyline of Chicago. It is at that point you notice how small the buildings look. I got a chuckle when I saw that.

My goal time for the race was 2:20. I was hoping to set a PR as my previous PR was 2:23. I was doing well and right on pace. With .4 miles left as we were rounding the back side of Shedd Aquirium, when hit a traffic block as the pace slowed because of the narrow path. At that point I realized the 2:20 was not going to happen. I knew I could still break the 2:23 mark. As we made the right hand turn on to Columbus St., the finish line was in sight. I kicked it in to high gear pushing to the finish line. My wife got a great picture of me and I can describe the look on my face as "determined". I crossed the line in 2:21 with a new PR!

I would recommend you add this race to your "to do" list. I am originally from Chicago so this made it extra special to me. It was a great event, with a great course and a great city. The crowd support was excellent. At certain points the crowd was really deep. This was especially true down Michigan Avenue and to the finish line.

I have some photos on my blog that I posted this morning. I will probably post additional photos. You can check out my blog here http://runningcaniac.blogspot.com


Kansas City, MO

I really enjoyed the course. It's scenic, and there was great support through maybe mile 7 or 8, when it peters out a bit on the lakefront. The end is really tough--although flat, there's not much crowd support, not a whole lot of cool scenery, and the aid stations all but disappear.

Gear check was quick, but the lines for the port-a-potties were long and slow moving. I appreciated that there was food available (bananas) before the race.

There were tons of aid stations for the first 10 miles of the course (almost too many), and too few for the last 5K. Miles 11 and 12 were brutal. I very much appreciated the mile 9 Gu stop and the icy sponges at mile 10 (I think). The medals and shirt are high quality. The bands were all fun to listen to and watch and very involved in the race.

I had a great experience at the expo and with the staff most of the time, but at the finish line, when I started walking, I became very dizzy and could not stand. So as not to crack my head open on the pavement, I sat. I was rudely told to move by a RnR employee. When my sister explained that I was passing out, she asked if I needed a medic. I physically could not speak at that point and did not respond, but she did not get a medic. Instead, she told my sister to get me up and move me out of the way. I get the need to keep the chute moving and clear, but I probably needed a medic, wasn't in a state to make that decision for myself, and no assistance was offered. That soured me a bit on the whole experience.

I would definitely run again.


Chicago, IL

This is the second time I ran RNR Chicago. This was the first half marathon race I ever ran, so this will always have a great place in my heart.

This year's course was improved from last year. Not a lot changed, but the first part of the course was routed better. Runners got to see more of Chicago's magnificent mile and west side.

Crowd and volunteer support was tremendous. Everything was once again very well organized.

The only thing I didnt like about the RNR Chicago is the hydration drinks they use. Cytomax is OK, but really didnt like it. Tasted like just pure sugar combined with water. I hope the organizers go with Gatorade next year.

I would do this again next year.


Chicago, IL

The Rock N Roll Chicago was my first Half Marathon ever, so it will always have a special positive space in my heart.

I am a life long Chicagoan, so I truly appreciated the time and effor the organizers put in to this event. The organization of the race, expo, drinks were excellent. I am proud to say that such a great race event is held in my city.

- Course: Started downtown, took us to the start of the Magnificent Mile, took us west to Greek Town, south to Lake Shore Drive and McCormick campus area, and finished off at Grant Park. The course gave you good glimpses of the entire city. On course refreshments were awesome. Cold watered sponges near the end was a great touch.
- Organization: The Expo was really nice and well organized. The pre-race area was good, normal lines at the port-o-john area.

- Nothing (I am biased, I know) But really, it was a great race experience!


Moseley, VA

This is a fantastic race in a GREAT city! We had a blast in Chicago and had fun racing. The course is flat and perfect for a PR (I did not set one this year, but would love to come back next year and focus my training in order to PR). The weather this year was perfect as well and the race starts at 6:30 to avoid the heat! I would recommend this race to anyone. This was my wife's first 1/2 marathon and she really enjoyed it as well. It is worth the travel!


Chicago, IL

Shade! Lots of shade on the course! It was a warm, sunny day so thankfully the race started at 6:30 a.m. I mainly remembered being so thankful for the shade (from the buildings, trees, tall people even!). Some of the highlights include the expo (we closed it out), Kara Goucher racing (overall winner!), wet sponges (oh sweet relief), and popsicles at the finish (my fave is the pink strawberry).

I didn't have a great finish time (I was on pace for a 1:50 finish the first 10 mi until I pretty died the last 5k), but I really liked the race. The RnR Chicago HM was extremely organized and well-run for an inaugural race. We stayed for the post-race party & enjoyed MGD beer while taking in the action around us in the awesome summer Chicago weather.
One of the only cons is Cytomax - that stuff is really sweet! But it didn't bother my stomach, so I just diluted it with water.


Los Angeles, CA

By far thee best run event this year.
Everything about the Rock N' Roll Marathon was great - You'd think being an inaugural event there would be some kinks, BUT NO!
From pre-race activates to post race and everything in between was great.
This was my first out of state run and I choose the right one.
The course was scenic from start to finish (one exception underground something for half a mile)
You go thru downtown Chicago down and up the shoreline, and the run back is great.
You have the Chicago Skyline bringing you back to the finish line.
The crowd was the best I have seen in any of my races.
Besides doing my best half marathon time on this course, and that it is an inaugural I’ll come back to this race next year for the city. I had a great weekend in Chicago.


Atlanta, GA

This was my 4th half marathon of 2008, and by far my favorite. I thought the organization was amazing, and everyone knew exactly where to go and when at all times. The start time at 6:30 was my first race that started in daylight, which was interesting, as I love part of the run usually being watching the sun come up. It was also my first "warm weather" run, but it the temps were relatively mild, so it was nice.
The crowds were pretty steady along the entire course, which was fun and motivating-even if they didn't cheer that much and weren't that loud. Just seeing people lined up was fun. I loved running through the city, but I ran in my Vibrams, and going over the SPIKED drawbridges was a bit rough on my feet. Not a huge negative, as I could easily jump up on the sidewalk for the part going over the bridge and then jump back down into the street. I LOVED the wave start. They were very strict about which corral you were assigned too, and started each corral 2 minutes apart. That was my first experience was that, and it was fantastic because you didn't spend the first mile running and tripping over everyone running on top of each other. Right from the beginning you were spread out enough to run your own race. At all water/drink stations they lined BOTH sides of the streets-another HUGE plus. There was no bottle necking at the water stops, and you could easily decided which side was the best to stop at and get your water and go. I DID NOT like that they official race drink was Cytomax...it was super sweet and make me a little sick to my stomach after the second one, so I stuck with water the rest of the way. The wet sponges twice were great, as it was starting to warm up quickly...however, I wish they would tell the volunteers (as much as we appreciate what they do) not to throw water out on us as we pass. It was not a spray or a mist...they would soak up a sponge and then throw out the water as they squeezed it. Running in soaking wet shoes and also trying to protect my Garmin was a little annoying. The first half of the race was through the heart of the city and the Miracle Mile, and then headed south, around the stadium where the White Sox play. The tunnels were very fun to run in...they were totally dark and everyone would cheer as we went through. The loop back up was nothing short of breath-taking. It was along the riverwalk, right next to the water..so you got the breeze off the water, the view of the Chicago skyline from a good distance and it was as flat a course as I have ever run. BIG DOWNFALL..it completely bottlenecked a the beginning of the path, and then the last 4 miles were on a very narrow path. While some people were tiring out, others were trying to go faster, but it was very hard to navigate around people and through crowds of people. Some people were running at the same pace, and taking up the entire path, so it was very hard to get around them. One girl just came to a complete stop and then turned perpindicular to the path and started stretching - taking up at least 75% of the course. The mile markers were also a bit off. My garmin watch said they were about a half mile off, and the guy running behind me was talking about it as well. Somewhere between mile 7 and 8 it was an extra .5. Then we passed mile 13, and everyone thought we were done at a tent off in the distance that would have easily been the last .1 mile, and as we got closer, we realized you had to turn on the path, go down and under a bridge and then down a street to the finish line. When I got done my garmin said 13.64 for the distance, and we met a bunch of people stretching in the grass afterwards that all said the same thing-it was definitely longer than 13.1. Everyone had varying lengths (depending on how wide you took turns, etc), but all of us had between 13.5-13.7 as total distance, which was a little frustrating for your time. I set my watch to tell me the time at 13.1 and I was still a good distance from where they had the finish line.
The medals were my favorite yet, the shirt is my favorite of any race yet, and the photographers were all very good about getting everyones picture when they finished. The pre race expo was fantastic, and I purchased WAY too many things, and after the race hanging out in Grant Park with the bands and all the runners was so much fun. The traffic control was excellent and there were enough porta potties for the entire city of Chicago! It was so nice not to have to wait in a line before the race started! I loved this race and will definitely do it again.


Chicago, IL

This was my first half marathon. For beginners its a great race, nice and flat so no surprise hills at the end. You get to run thru the City and then finish along Lake Michigan which is a nice view. Chicago is a great location because the runner expo at McCormick place is big enough to house many vendors with freebies.

Getting to the race at 6:30am super early is easy with train and/or bus access. Great organization of the corrals and registration in Grant Park.

Weather- Chicago weather this summer has been unpredictable but the race day weather was a perfect sunny 65-70 degrees and no humidity which is key!

Race- Great running around Michigan Ave thru the city and across to West loop. Finishing along the Lake gives you something nice to look at but the trail narrows which is hard, especially at the end when you risk getting your eye poked out on the left half of the trail. There were plenty of water stations EXCEPT at the end when you need it most. After mile 10 there's only 1 water station which was well needed. There were 2 wet sponge stations which were great!

And at the end with whatever energy you had left, it was a great day to walk around Chicago and relax. All in all a great 1st race and has encouraged me to attempt another one.


Chicago, IL

This was my 4th half marathon, but first in Chicago. The course was great! I adore running along the lake, so the views of the city and lake were a definite bonus. We had perfect weather - which led to a "perfect" race with my best time yet!

1) The scenery!
2) Cold water sponges passed out twice during the race - these were life savers!
3) Great bands & music - they were very lively and encouraging to the runners
4) The course - fairly flat (I didn't know little hills even existed in Chicago, but the one within 1.5 miles of the finish was a toughie) & definitely fast!
5) The expo was great and the freebies were stellar!

1) The spectators could have been a little more enthusiastic - maybe they hadn't had their coffee yet?
2) Cytomax - I'm not a big fan of it, but they seem to be the signature drink of all RnR races
3) Things were a little cramped on the lakefront path, but the views really made up for it
4) Seemed like one water station was missing or the spacing was off toward the end of the race - I was really thirsty and considered stopping at a drinking fountain until I finally saw the stop ahead

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic race and I will 100% do it again! Great timing in the preparation of training for the Chicago Marathon too!


Skokie, IL

Loved this race! Heard about it from a friend in San Diego and so glad it has come to Chicago.

-Super organized from start to end.
-great free goodies-between the expo and race day, you get your money's worth.
-picking up race packets was easy and fast; no long wait; smooth transitions; good signage
-fresh cut oranges at the finish line, as well as bananas, muscle milk, bags of chips, water.
-MY FAVORITE-the ice cold sponges and wet towels they passed out mid and later end of the race. felt sooo gooood. never had that before.
-the bands sounded awesome; something to look forward to at each mile marker.

-Race program said Gu provided at mile marker 6.7, but didn't pass it out until mile 10. usually i need the pick me up around mile 7. But mile 10 turned out to be a good point to get GU anyway.
-Instead of gatorade, they passed out "Cryomax"-way too sweet for my taste

Chicago always has a great fan base. Overall, Fantastic inaugural race! One of my best race experiences!


columbia, MO

This was my first RnR and my first race in Chicago. It was my tenth half marathon. The Rock 'n' Roll organization is fantastic and Chicago was marvelous. We had great weather, our hotel (Blackstone) was within easy walking distance of the race start/finish and numerous Chicago attractions. The expo at McCormick place was large and I particularly liked the separation of the race goodies/clothes etc from the other vendors. The race course was through the city and along the lake. I lost Garmin GPS when among the buildings. The narrow lakeshore path caused some crowding issues but the view was awesome. Bands along the way and finish were very good. Crowd support was most I've ever experienced. Aid stations, water stations, start line and finish support were outstanding. Race markings could have been more frequent and more clearly identifiable. (One was a 20k marker about 2 miles from the end.) Vehicle traffic control was very good. Great race and I'd definitely consider it again.


Chicago, IL

Staffed this event for Team In Training. John Bingham always did an excellent job with the Chicago Distance Classic, we're really looking forward to the R'n'R Half. The downtown Chicago finish is classic, and post-race activities at Grant Park are a good time too. Bingham is still invovled in the race I hear, and so there is still a focus on charity athletes, even though all are welcome. Good times for a classic that now rocks.


, NV

I hadn't done a half-marathon since my first in 2006, so signing up for the Chicago RnR half this year was a little daunting. But this race, in its inaugural year as an RnR, was great. The expo was large, the course was beautiful, and the crowd was pretty psyched. It helped that perfect weather hit Chicago on race day - 65 degrees and sunny, but not humid, at 6:30am!

A few things this newbie runner noted:

First, if you get something in your eye at the starting line, don't take your contact out unless you want to run a blurry 13.1 miles. Whoops. My mistake.

Second, the course could've used another water station between mile 9 and 12. The groans of, "water! Where is the water!" along with runners actually begging spectators for their water bottles wasn't the most encouraging to hear in the final miles.

Third, time your morning fluid intake well. I didn't see too many portos along the course, and took advantage of the six located around mile 6. It took me four minutes to get through the line and back on the course, even with saving the clothing readjustments for mid-stride.

Gold stars:
- Plenty of volunteers handing out water
- The cold, wet sponges also handed out
- The crowd was awesome
- Fast and flat course, just like as advertised
- Great location & course
- The bands were fun and peppy

Could use improvement:
- The course gets really narrow along the lakeside, so it's hard to pick up the pace in the last few miles - you still have to dodge other runners. (However, the trade-off is the great view of the lake!)
- One more water station would have been perfect

All in all, it was a great race on a great day. An hour after I finished, I was already looking forward to the next one.





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People Who Have Done This Race
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