Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Polar Dash Half Marathon Race Recap

My friend Kate S. recently completed the Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon.
Kate and I at the Chicago Marathon 2011 expo
I had debated doing this race but ultimately decided against. Kate took the time to type up a race review that I could share with all of you! As a little background, this was another race put on by Team Ortho (they've also done the Monster Dash). It was the inaugural year of the Polar Dash in Chicago.

The Polar Dash was a bit of a registration mess, but they did redeem themselves when race day kicked off a week later. Team Ortho launched the FB site about 3-4 months before the race registration even opened. Then they kept pushing back the opening of the Chicago Registration by two weeks, then another week, then posted it was opened and it still was not! When they announced it was open, I was misled in to signing up for the Minnesota version of this race-but one comment on FB lead them to refund my non-refundable payment in order for me to sign up for the Chicago event. Good job there.

They were also supposed to be holding a “14 days of give always” promotion on FB, that oddly ended after the 8th or 9th day….so that was another mix-up the promotion/marketing team was in charge of.

The race was rescheduled due to much speculation that the Chicago PD and park district called it off due to icy/snowy conditions, but when the race took place- it was the day after the highest snowfall we have had in Chicago this winter so far….???.... People got what they paid for-a true Polar Dash…..

The course was an out and back through the museum campus and out past McCormick place. With snow falling and the frozen lake as a back ground, the scenery was ideal. There was an issue with the first 2-3 miles being really bogged down due to the start taking place on the city sidewalks (so runners two across max made passing ridiculous) and your usual dopes who cannot read posted pace signs. Plus you had to stay to one side of the bike path as the elites started to make their way back… Oh, duh and the snow…just think repeat of Shamrock Shuffle 2009 when we had all that snow....

Race swag was A-mazing! The jackets where a great fit, super soft, and with a cute race logo-would have been nice if it stated ½ marathon,10k,5k so people would know what event it was. The finishers metals are absolutely beautiful. They are stained glass snowflakes- nice and big!

The after race was very organized-food was pre-packaged so all you had to do was grab a bag loaded with bagel, peanuts, banana, string cheese. Plus the best hot chocolate I have ever had was on tap.

Overall the headache with improper registration notification, and race cancellation was quickly remedied with how well the race went off (well minus the crappy start conditions). Team Ortho does need to work on their marketing a bit and maybe not promote a race until they are ready to handle inquiries or actual registration. Some hiccups, but overall a good run.

Thanks again to Kate for sharing your experience! What was the most interesting weather you've ever had during a race? Snow, rain, heat, hail? Mine was the Shamrock Shuffle 2009 when it was snowy and slushy the whole course. I PRed because I wanted it to be over and ran as fast as my frozen feet would take me to the finish line!


  1. It rained during the last half marathon I ran - Applefest in New Hampshire. Luckily it wasn't too cold (I think in the 50-60s). But by the end we were soaked, especially our feet. All I wanted to do was take off my shoes and socks, but of course it was muddy, and we had to wait for the shuttle back to our car. Overall it wasn't that bad though. I'm glad I had a spare pair of shoes in the trunk.

    Also I added a link to this post:

  2. The spare set of shoes sounds like it was a lifesaver. It was expected to rain the day of the GR Marathon so I had extra outfits and socks that I gave to my husband and had on me, just in case. The sky cleared minutes before the gun went off so we were lucky during the race. :)

    Thanks for the link up!

  3. Thanks Kate for the recap!!

    Mine was the shamrock shuffle too Kelly! I also PR'd to get the hell out of there! lol

  4. Haha... I think they had only 13,000 finishers that year. Glad to know you were a fellow crazy out there running a race in the snow! :)

  5. I ran a Santa Shuffle the beginning of December in NH in 45 degree weather. If I wasn't so excited to be one of 1000+ wearing a Santa suit, I would have run the race in shorts.
    I also really like the idea of a guest post race recap. Hope you don't mind if I use the idea?

  6. Oh yikes! The weather this year seems to have been really unpredictable throughout the states!

    Please, the idea of a guest post is not my idea to steal! Feel free to do as you like! :)

  7. Thanks for the recap! I ran 8 miles on the lake front that morning and it was definitely slick! The medal looks sweet though, maybe i will run it next year? :)

  8. I really like Team Ortho's medals. They are based out of Minnesota and are just starting to do some races in Chicago. (Monster Dash, Polar Dash) They have a race called Get Lucky and the medals look really cool! (Replace the snowflake with a shamrock) but I don't think they are having this race in Chicago this year. Anyone up for a race road trip to Minnesota?? Just kidding (kind of)

  9. Nice post, great race event recap. Thanks for sharing ! Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates.