Hosted by lululemon athletica, the first annual Mardi Glow Run was more of a community event than a bona fide race, expanding on their weekly group runs and seizing on Fat Tuesday as a fitting time to get some exercise in. It’s always fun to get out on the street with a group of runners, but it’s even more exciting when everyone is decked out in glow bands and gaudy-colored running gear.
Heading from the lululemon at Halsted and Armitage to the 900 North Michigan location, this roughly two-and-a-half-mile run started at six o’clock to notably pleasant weather (around forty degrees with a light wind) and surprisingly accommodating sidewalks (where were all the annoyed pedestrians?). For safety, one event representative took up the front and one followed behind as the group of about fifty sparkling, cheering runners headed down Halsted, turned east on North Avenue and then, after hitting Lake Shore Drive, headed south.
If anybody could have predicted the balmy (to Chicagoans) winter weather this year, the weekends would be packed with organized races, but as it stands February is a pretty sparse month for Chicago runners, which made this little midweek spinoff feel particularly well-timed. The playful theme and decidedly enthusiastic running crowd combined with the seamless organization and inclusive group feeling made this an ideal after-work run, and hopefully indulged anyone foolish enough to give up running for Lent. (Zach Freeman)
Course: 4. Unexpectedly smooth–the finish down Lake Shore to Michigan was especially nice. Hit a few lights.
Organization: 5. Friendly, well-coordinated and ready to run.
Bag Check: 5. Sure there were only fifty runners, but there were no mix-ups.
Goody Bag: 5. Reusable bag, water bottle and glow sticks… not bad for a free race.
Weather: 4. 40 degrees right after sunset. Slight chill by the lake but mostly ideal.
Overall: 4.6. Recommended run. Group running on an unofficial course can be risky, but this one made it work by keeping it simple and organized.