Overall Rating
Overall Rating (17 Reviews)
3.5
(17 Ratings)(17 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.4
SCENERY
3.4
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
3.5
You don’t want to miss the coolest summer run in the Series! Get on board for a fast, flat, scenic course, winding through Downtown Chicago and along the waterfront. Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago is the birthplace of our Remix Challenge – known for its contrast of a downtown city course, … MORE
Local Weather (Jul 20)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 78 88 88 87 80
L (°F) 69 69 71 65 63
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Recent reviews

    samanthadolen FIRST-TIMER '14

    This was my first half marathon, and I later discovered that the benefit of the Rock-n-Roll series is that you know what to expect from a race. The Expo is … MORE

    This was my first half marathon, and I later discovered that the benefit of the Rock-n-Roll series is that you know what to expect from a race. The Expo is well done, the race begins and ends smoothly, and the support on the course is frequent. They didn’t have as many acts or bands as I had expected from Rock-n-Roll, but there was still plenty of fun on the course. This is run in the Chicago loop, so the course distance will track a little longer than 13.1 since there are many turns and the field is large. This is the only race I have ever repeated.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    jahbrink FIRST-TIMER '18

    Loved the music. It was cold and wet and windy, so I just wanted to be done. Race shirts run small. GPS trackers don't work in the city. Some of … MORE

    Loved the music. It was cold and wet and windy, so I just wanted to be done. Race shirts run small. GPS trackers don’t work in the city. Some of the swag was weird (stool softener samples before a race?!?) but medals were cool. I ran the 5k the day prior.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    hthoele24 FIRST-TIMER '12

    I was a newbie runner and didn't know what I was getting myself into. Pros: The expo was great, public transit made everything easily accessible, water stops were good. Cons: … MORE

    I was a newbie runner and didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
    Pros: The expo was great, public transit made everything easily accessible, water stops were good.
    Cons: Very hot, crowded throughout

    This was the hottest race I’d participated in to date as a newbie runner. I hated every moment of it. I don’t know whether my experience would seem different now, as a more seasoned runner, but I don’t plan on finding out.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    bayna6 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The 5k before the half is always good to get acclimated to the area. We ran along the waterfront and it was very enjoyable. The weather was very nice and … MORE

    The 5k before the half is always good to get acclimated to the area. We ran along the waterfront and it was very enjoyable. The weather was very nice and there were a lot of boats to look at while running.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    bayna6 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Running in Chicago is always great. The weather was good, the scenery was fantastic. It was a mile long according to my watch, most races end up being a little … MORE

    Running in Chicago is always great. The weather was good, the scenery was fantastic. It was a mile long according to my watch, most races end up being a little long, but not a full mile….. still worth the trip and the food.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    clee11 FIRST-TIMER '17

    I was a little hesitant about corporate races like this but you know I had a ton of fun. The course was nicely laid out and got to see a … MORE

    I was a little hesitant about corporate races like this but you know I had a ton of fun. The course was nicely laid out and got to see a lot of the city. Some races state that they are in the city but in reality are on the outskirts. I was impressed with the course entertainment and the course support. One thing I really liked are the amounts of port of potties around thus helping with some lines. I really enjoyed the wave start to be able to give people room to get a good stride going. The medal was nice but it was way too small for a half marathon. I do like the design. I would do this again if I lived closer.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    klucht FIRST-TIMER '15

    There was very little course entertainment, the race temperature was ridiculously hot and humid and the aid station were a disaster. This is one race I would not recommend and … MORE

    There was very little course entertainment, the race temperature was ridiculously hot and humid and the aid station were a disaster. This is one race I would not recommend and my least favorite of my 40+ half marathons.
    The medal, shirt and expo were all awesome. The actual race was subpar and could have been so much better.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    KelliKO FIRST-TIMER '16

    This was a great race through the heart of Chicago. It was really well organized, as all Rock n' Roll events are, and the course was relatively easy. The weather … MORE

    This was a great race through the heart of Chicago. It was really well organized, as all Rock n’ Roll events are, and the course was relatively easy. The weather is a bit tricky, and it poured on us for about two miles, so course support got less and less as it went on. It can also be very humid. But I had a really good time at this one. Just be sure to check the distance from your hotel to the start line. I walked over a mile to the start, so lots of walking on race day.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '17

    There aren't too many summer races (for good reasons), but this is one you should check out. I like races in Chicago - the area is relatively flat and the … MORE

    There aren’t too many summer races (for good reasons), but this is one you should check out. I like races in Chicago – the area is relatively flat and the people are great. The weather is always a crap shoot. I found this year (2017) to be pleasant enough for a July race, but days before (and the days ahead) were going to be close to 90, which would have been brutal.

    Rock N Roll, in my opinion, excels at the half marathon (they aren’t so great with the fulls). There is a decent size expo, nice shirts and medals. I do think, however, that they are under-delivering on their whole promise of course entertainment. I’m noticing less and less bands along the route. Doesn’t bother me so much, but I have noticed a change.

    I did the 5k on Saturday and then the half on Sunday in order to get the “Remix Challenge” extra medal.

    It’s never as cheap to fly to Chicago as you think (since when you DON’T want to go to Chicago, you get a layover there, but when you actually WANT to go there, the flights are expensive). There are plenty of hotel options – don’t be limited to just the hotels RnR recommends. Plenty of things to do while you are there, great places to eat. It’s an enjoyable weekend.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    TBurgess FIRST-TIMER '15

    This review may seem contradictory. I really liked the event. First of all, the location, Chicago, is awesome. There is so much to do here. Now to this specific event: … MORE

    This review may seem contradictory. I really liked the event. First of all, the location, Chicago, is awesome. There is so much to do here.

    Now to this specific event: I liked the location of the expo and the course. Despite Chicago being a big city, they did a good job at keeping everything fairly close. A simple cab/uber ride and you’re there.

    The event itself was great. The heat & humidity; however, was terrible. It ate me alive. I struggled from Mile 3 on. I was seriously ready to give up at Mile 8. I fought through it and finished, but I felt so beaten down at the end. I have to give props to RnR though. They did a fantastic job with course support with water, ice, cold sponges, cold towels, misters, etc. I cannot fault them for the weather, except maybe not have an event in Chicago in July.

    The year I participated, I did not like the shirt or the medal. Both were pretty plain, but since these change every year, don’t let that influence your decision. I’ve seen other years and both the shirt & medal were very cool.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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    Very nice course, not too tough. We had perfect weather to start, very hard rain at end. You do run underground for a bit, don't count on trackers to be … MORE

    Very nice course, not too tough. We had perfect weather to start, very hard rain at end. You do run underground for a bit, don’t count on trackers to be accurate. The music sucked, but all else was well done. If you are coming from out of town, go ahead and do the 5k the day before too.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    pollygolightly2 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Rock and Roll races are fun for the bling and the production. I thought there would be more actual real bands when I signed up, so I was disappointed it … MORE

    Rock and Roll races are fun for the bling and the production. I thought there would be more actual real bands when I signed up, so I was disappointed it wasn’t that obvious. Super hot, they opened some hydrants for people. I was disappointed that they had run out of gatorade and water for the BOTP people, especially in that weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    dansolera REPEAT RUNNER '16

    The RNR race series is known for a polished, tried-and-true organization that yields the respectable race experience that everyone has come to expect. However, with their typically high race fees, … MORE

    The RNR race series is known for a polished, tried-and-true organization that yields the respectable race experience that everyone has come to expect. However, with their typically high race fees, runners eventually expect something extra, an additional X factor that sets the organization apart from its peers. It used to be a singular focus on music, or at least using the musical theme in creative ways.

    But in 2016, I’m running out of praise. This year’s race, while a perfectly acceptable race in its most base terms, has lost most of what made the RNR brand so popular in the first place. Not only was there a huge lack of actual rock & roll, but the fun innovations of years past (strobe lights in the McCormick Tunnel, coordinated speakers playing the same song for a motivational 1/2 mile stretch) were nowhere to be found.

    With the twelve other half marathons that Chicago offers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify paying $100-150 for a running experience that offers nothing above what is expected. I worry about the race’s future. There are fewer finishers every year and the trend seems to point toward cutting services or lowering costs. I hope they can start the turnaround in 2017.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    MadelynMarino FIRST-TIMER '12

    I completed this race in 2012. The race starts at 6:30 probably to beat the heat of the day. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park. This race was … MORE

    I completed this race in 2012.

    The race starts at 6:30 probably to beat the heat of the day. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park. This race was extremely organized with roped off corrals.

    The course takes you through downtown Chicago and over one or two small bridges. You will get to see many of the major buildings throughout the run. There is a portion of the race that is also along the Chicago River.

    The worst part of this race was the temperature. It was HOT! However, I have to give the organizers credit because they were prepared for the heat. At almost every mile there was water, ice, and cold wash clothes. I was so hot that I stopped at every mile to pick up ice which I shoved down the front and back of my shirt. Please note – while this cooled me off the ice became a little sharp and I suffered some battle scars.

    Tough course due to the heat. But if you can handle it, more power to you!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    maxtonmcd REPEAT RUNNER '14

    This is a great course that runs through much of downtown. The first half is in and around the Loop. Mostly flat, but does usually get hot. One of the … MORE

    This is a great course that runs through much of downtown. The first half is in and around the Loop. Mostly flat, but does usually get hot. One of the better Rock n Roll events I have participated in, mainly because of the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    dansolera REPEAT RUNNER '15

    The Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon is typically held in the middle of summer, which means you're likely to get some challenging conditions. This year, the race began with … MORE

    The Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon is typically held in the middle of summer, which means you’re likely to get some challenging conditions. This year, the race began with an 80-degree morning drenched in 80% humidity. So we all adjust our time goals and enjoy the race anyway – especially since the organizers had brought the legendary Meb Keflezighi to pace the 1:30 group to victory. The course was 90% the same as last year, with only a small, mile-long out-and-back detour changed. However, there was visibly much less ROCK this year. There were only a few bands out on the course, none of which were thrashing or rocking but swinging and jazzing, and the mile-long stretch of speakers around mile 11 were blaring a remix of Whitney Houston’s very un-rock-like “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Oh, and the headlining act for the show was Andy Grammer.

    So needless to say, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, especially after last year’s race really brought out the devil fingers. Maybe it was bad timing. But regardless, with the exception of the “selfie station” (which, really?) blaring the Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” this event was completely devoid of rock. Even the expo felt like an EDM concert with a neverending soundtrack of repetitive beats.

    The race production itself was near impeccable, as usual. I’m just worried that they’re quickly losing their brand.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    dansolera REPEAT RUNNER '14

    Chicago boasts many, many half marathons. Some of them start in the city but leave soon thereafter or use free park paths for 90% of their course. The Rock & … MORE

    Chicago boasts many, many half marathons. Some of them start in the city but leave soon thereafter or use free park paths for 90% of their course. The Rock & Roll Half Marathon is the ONLY half marathon to run at least 50% of its course through Chicago’s downtown area (that is, until the 2014 Women’s Half Marathon took runners onto Michigan Avenue). Although it takes place in mid-July, it’s early enough to keep temperatures relatively cool. The course is as flat as it gets, the aid stations are evenly distributed, though there was definitely a galling lack of bands. A continuous stream of speakers set up around mile 10 made up for this dearth of music. Overall, a great race.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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