Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
4
(4 Ratings)(4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.8
SCENERY
4.5
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.5
One of Chicago’s few remaining independently-owned large races, the 11th Annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon & 5k is Chicago’s Original Winter Half Marathon. Each year thousands of runners flock to this community-built event, gathering in the warmth of Soldier Field’s United Club before tackling wind & weather along a lakefront … MORE
Local Weather (Jan 25):
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
 
H (°F) 41 7 45 43 42
L (°F) 29 -4 25 34 28
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Recent reviews

    Tobycarrig FIRST-TIMER '19

    If you know what the F3 stands for (freaking frozen are in there), the race lived up to its name in 2019, but I think that's part of the appeal. … MORE

    If you know what the F3 stands for (freaking frozen are in there), the race lived up to its name in 2019, but I think that’s part of the appeal. Dealing with the elements is part of the challenge.
    The temperature was in single digits with a dangerous cold front blasting through the Midwest for this year’s race.
    I came in Friday morning to pick up my packet at the South Loop Fleet Feet, and I was glad I stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the start/finish at Soldier Field.
    The swag included a nice hat and matching long scarf. Great winter accessories. A decent medal for the 10th anniversary. Some other race merchandise was available for purchase.
    The communication and production were excellent. Many advisories about running in the extreme cold came via email.
    Some snow showers (apparently unexpected to the people at Fleet Feet) came in later Friday night yet the course was pretty clear, except for one short patch of crunchy ice closing in on the halfway point. I think my lower body clothing was covered in salt by race end, but that’s ok.
    The space inside Soldier Field for pre- and post-race activities is great for getting out of the elements, with adequate bathrooms.
    Race day itself was sunny and not much wind, so near perfect except the cold.
    The start was done in waves with pacers.
    The course begins with a lap around the west side of Soldier Field and then has a bottleneck getting onto the paved bike trail. There was another bottleneck at the one-mile mark as you run through the finish area. We came to a brief stop there. Other than that, the course was well-marked though a little tight at times.
    Plenty of aid stations, but again the traffic was something to navigate there.
    Chip-timed with a number of split times recorded.
    I like urban courses and Chicago is one of my favorite cities, so I enjoyed the scenery coming back (north) toward the loop on the out-and-back course.
    Since it’s January in Chicago, you’re going to have to deal with some things. The experience was very helpful in events I’ve run since.
    This event is very well-run but it was crowded in spots on the course, so being patient with the first mile or two is helpful.
    Race photographers offered some nice free photos. Results are scrolled on a wall inside the stadium club after the race.
    There was a post-race party (with one free drink) at the nearest bar, walkable from Soldier Field.
    They had a gear check station to organize runners’ belongings.
    If you can stand the cold, this is a neat event. I’ve already signed up to try to do better in 2020.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    liam.cotter REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Great pre race buildup in Soldiers field. Brilliant organisation. Very friendly atmosphere and yet clinical organisation. Would rate this as good as any half I have ran around the world MORE

    Great pre race buildup in Soldiers field. Brilliant organisation. Very friendly atmosphere and yet clinical organisation. Would rate this as good as any half I have ran around the world

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    JimChicago FIRST-TIMER '16

    Enjoy the stark Winter beauty of Chicago's lakefront and run like a wolf through the F^3 Half Marathon. The Course: It's flat, straight out & back. 6.5 miles starting at … MORE

    Enjoy the stark Winter beauty of Chicago’s lakefront and run like a wolf through the F^3 Half Marathon.
    The Course: It’s flat, straight out & back. 6.5 miles starting at the Bears fortress, Soldier Field past the frozen shipless harbours, to castlelike Museum of Science and Industry, then little Promontory Point. (In just a few years this turn will probably enjoy a view of the Obama Presidential Library). Turn around and run 6.5 miles North to the finish. The whole course is on the lakefront trail and the views are fantastic. The point of this run really is to run along the wall: The ferocious icy waves of Lake Michigan, and see the frozen city gleaming on the horizon. The path is kept clear from ice and snow, so your footing will be safe.
    (Thank you Chicago Park District for keeping the lakefront running/biking trails clear and safe all year)!
    The Expo: There isn’t one. They do the packet-pick up through local running stores.
    The Support: They have several aid stations, with water and sports drinks. It looked like they have emergency staff for twisted ankles or runners who feel too cold.
    The Finish: It’s nice little Finish-Line, right by Soldier Field with plenty to eat and hot chocolate. Wrap up in something warm just as soon as you can. You’ll be warm enough while running, but you really start to freeze when you stop.
    Thousands run this trail all summer. Be one of the brave few January runners! Bundle up!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    troll2069 FIRST-TIMER '15

    The run sounds crazy – a half marathon along Lake Michigan in mid-January, especially for someone who lives in warm Phoenix. I researched the run and the promoters have a … MORE

    The run sounds crazy – a half marathon along Lake Michigan in mid-January, especially for someone who lives in warm Phoenix. I researched the run and the promoters have a good web site. 2015 was the sixth running of the race and the reviews from past years were positive. The images from last year’s cold and snowy run were a little scary, but I set off to earn the really cool medal. There are no t-shirts for the run, but instead a toboggan and gloves. That worked for me because I have too many shirts as it is. Race packet pick up extended nearly the whole week prior across multiple locations around Chicago.

    Arriving to Chicago a few days before it was windy and very chilly, but on race morning the temperature was warmer, less wind, and for the first time during my visit I saw the sun. The start and finish was Soldier Field. The run was along the lake trail (sidewalk). The lake was beautiful and the course was fairly level. There was no ice on the trail and the large sell-out crowd seemed to have enough room coming and going. The challenge was bicyclist and other runners who were no part of the race also were using the same trail. It wasn’t too big of a deal with the runners, but the bikes meant runners needed to be alert. The run cut-off time was 3:30, which was 30 minutes more than I expected. Trying to get back into my running shape meant I had to push it toward the end when I thought I would not make it…but I did. The view around mile 2-3 and back at 10 (I think) gave a nice view of the city.

    I am still not a fan of winter, but I would do this run again. It is a great crowd, well organized, and nice swag.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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  1. Races
  2. F3 Lake Half Marathon & 5K