Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hurry Up to Run the Soldier Field 10

Maybe you didn't think that 10 miles was possible for your running legs to handle back in January. Maybe you once thought that you'd be out of town for Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe you recovered faster from that last race than you thought and now you're on the hunt for your next adventure. Maybe you thought that the Soldier Field 10, a race that has quickly become a Memorial Day Weekend tradition around Chicago--and starts off that weekend of barbecuing and beaching--had already sold out. Now's your chance to grab one of the 1,000 spots--or less considering it was Monday when I heard 1,000 were available--that are left in this race that finishes on the 50-yard line at Soldier Field. The race is expected to close before the week is out, and do you really want to be SOL from one of the city's favorite races on the weekend that kicks off summer?

Probably not. Unless of course, you've injured yourself. In that case, you could always volunteer, an option I wish I had remembered for myself when I showed up to watch the Ravenswood Run on May 1. And an option I may very well have to do, depending on what my healing stress fracture looks like when I return to the doctor later this week.

But if I can run, I will. I love running this race, even when I sleep through my alarm and barely arrive before the race start or when I take the first half too quickly and get slammed with a slowing wind on the route back. And the goodie bag perks are pretty nice, too--they justify what many would consider a hefty registration fee ($80 if you registered after January 31) for a 10-miler. Here are my reasons for why you should run:
  • That $80 registration fee, or $65 if you registered before February 1 and took advantage of the early-bird special, gets you a lot more than entry into this race. You also get an Adidas technical T-shirt, and finishers will go home with a special Soldier Field 10 stadium blanket and medal.
  • This year's Adidas tech tee is one you'll want to sport on your runs like you chose it off the store rack--I think it might even match the 2010 Boston Marathon women's jacket if you're looking to color coordinate. 
  • The 7:30 a.m. start means you can avoid the heat, if Chicago finally decides to get warm and stay warm, or get a hearty workout in before beginning the rest of your day. Or if you were going to escape the city for the weekend with a Saturday departure, you may as well run and hit the road later--you might even miss some of our dreaded traffic.
  • Ten milers aren't as taxing on the body as say a marathon. You could even double up and do another workout later in the day. But you still get the awesome calorie burn and rev to the metabolism that any run will give you.
  • You can meet--and run with--the FFCheer Team. Yes, a little plug for me and my running buddies, but five of the six of us will be there on May 28--our capitán is out of town but there in spirit.
  • You can see some familiar faces from Chicago area media outlets who will be running on the Media Team. I'm not sure who will be running, but media teammates include John Garcia, Lauren Jiggetts, Dina Bair and Amy Freeze (even if she's now reporting weather in New York).
  • You can run for the reason you have a three-day weekend in the first place: Memorial Day. That's a huge draw for the participants and the organizers. "I love working the starting ceremony and honoring the men and women who have served our country," says Dave Zimmer, president and owner of Fleet Feet Sports Chicago, which puts on the race. 
  • You can experience Soldier Field in a way that you can't at a Bears football game, from the field finish to watching yourself on the Jumbotron, sprinting those final steps.
  • My personal favorite: This race brings all sorts of runners together, beyond the basics of never-run-10-miles and routine-runner. "People are truly excited to run this event and finish inside Soldier Field and they do it for so many different reasons," Zimmer says. "Bears fans, football fans, the excitement of finishing on the field of this historic stadium and now raising money for the American Cancer Society and Team Salute."
  • Ah yes, this race benefits the above two charities, the American Cancer Society--you'll likely see some of its DetermiNation runners racing--and Salute, Inc., which provides financial support for military men and women.
Who's in? If you're not yet registered, but this convinced you to sign up, head over to for all the details.

Photo provided by Fleet Feet Chicago.



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