Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big 10K race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Most of you know that I’m originally from the Buckeye State. I did not attend THE Ohio State University (I received my undergrad from another Columbus-based college), though I had many friends who did attend. Because of that, I visited OSU frequently in my early 20s and went to games (when I could get tickets) and tailgated nearly every home game. I became something of an OSU alum by proxy. The BTN Big10k event was ALL about school spirit… and many “Go Bucks!” and “O-H!” chants were shared. I was with my people.

The BTN Big10K race overall was an awesome time, and I enjoyed expressing my OSU Love and hanging with my fellow Pros. I didn’t have the best race — once again the sub-hour 10k alluded me. The humidity once again didn’t give me a dang chance and sapped up all my energy, so I had to walk quite a bit to get my heart rate down. Ah, well. Another race down.

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Flat Mel ready to run with the Buckeyes!

Registration + Cost: My race entry was provided by BibRave. The 10K price starts at $50 for early bird registration, and has incremental price increases up to race day registration for $60 (if spots are available). The MC said that some 10,000 people were registered — approx 6,000 of those finished the 10k (there was also a 5k option, which I don’t cover in my review).

Big10k race shirt OSU
Expo + Packet Pick-up: One of my favorite features of Ram Racing events is the option to have your packet and bib mailed to you before race day. I will happily fork over extra dollars for this benefit (which was not included in my race comp).

Weather: UGH. Over it. But sincerely, I want to know why I cannot perform in the heat AT ALL.

Big10k start line chicago

Start Line + Parking: Chicago parking is insane, so I was happy for a hotel within walking distance of the start and finish lines — with valet parking… which I found out a day later cost me $70 for one night. OOOF. Anyways. The corrals opened way late, but the mascots were out mingling before the race.

Big10k race Brutus Ohio State run

Course + Elevation: This was my first time running in Chicago. The city is pretty flat; though in the heat, the inclines felt like I was climbing Everest. It was lovely to be on the lake again (no thanks for the added humidity) and seeing the tall buildings looming around us was pretty neat. I absolutely hated running in the underground tunnel spaces. That said, I cannot wait to run the marathon here in October!

Aid Stations: Not enough! If you send out warnings on social media about the heat and the addition of fluid stations, then you need to have more aid stations. I didn’t think there was enough, particularly for a larger race that seems to draw a LOT of participants who aren’t regular racers (there were more water stops in the small race that I did the previous weekend).

Personal preference I guess, but I’d rather have an extra water stop in the first two miles than having one within the last mile of a race. Also, despite fervently hating nuun, I used it during this race. At the first aid station — which wasn’t until 2 miles into the course — the volunteer told us that it was the only electrolyte stop on the course (it wasn’t… but wtf?!).

Big10k Ohio State blog race review

Finish Line + After Party: Special Olympics kids high-fiving at the finish line OMGGGGGG. ???

The usual bottled water (but also cupped water and nuun) and bananas were available in the finish line chute, but also ice cold towels (my line ran out, so thankfully there were more on the opposite side). The chute opens up to basically a block-long tailgate party in the street — each school had its own booth and tent, and there was food and drinks and live music. It was a lot of fun.

Big10k finish line selfie

I was SUPER pumped about eating some sausage at the finish line, especially because Sausages by Amylu are gluten-free. But the runners food box came with sausage wrapped in a bun — and there were no NON-bun options. The “hot dog” came alongside a bag of pretzels and wafer cookies (neither of those I could eat). Thankfully, Sausages by Amylu had its own tent with ALL THE SAMPLES of its product. Beer was provided by Revolution Brewing, which I gave to my husband because there were no non-beer alcoholic options (man, can a girl get a cider???).

After hanging for a bit eating sausage and taking selfies and posing with All Things School Spirit, it was time to pack up and grab my special order from Do-Rite Donuts (not affiliated with the race, but some of the best gluten-free doughnuts I’ve had ever) and drive the roads back to Des Moines.

Big10k sausage finish line food


Fans + Entertainment: The Finish Line Tailgate party was legit awesome. Though I guess that I was expecting a little bit more in terms of course entertainment. Maybe a marching band or something? Cheerleaders throughout the course rather than all smooshed in at the start line?

I did go through the first water slide, though maybe THREE people before me stopped over to do the same (one person in front of me did the second slide). More than anything, I just wanted to cool down my body temperature. But I’m glad that I participated in some silliness. There should have been a photographer there!

Lame: My Big 10 school had no swag at its booth. I thought that at the very least I would get a pair of Buckeyes sunglasses or a pom-pom or sticker or something (like the other schools’ booths). I don’t know if there were that many Ohio State fans running and they ran out of stuff… but by the time I arrived, they were only selling a t-shirt. SUPER LAME!

Big10k race Ohio State alumni

Swag + Medals: Keeping with the Team Spirit theme of the race, participants get to select a technical jersey in their school colors during registration. Likewise, at the end of the race, you visit your school’s booth to get a coin that fastens to the front of the medal by magnet. It was a lot of fun to cheer with (and snarl at) all the different schools. Because of my partnership with BibRave for this race, I sadly couldn’t wear my OSU shirt; I added in a few scarlet and gray pieces and school-branded temporary tattoos.

Awesome: Within hours of the race finish, I had an email with my race results and photos. Like this one…

Big10k free race pics


Hey, it was free!

BONUS: Picture with the championship trophy – HOLLA!

Big10k race championship trophy

The Great: I loved being able to personalize my race shirt and hang with other Buckeye fans.
The Good: SAUSAGE! This after party was legit the best.
The Bad: Not enough hydration stations.
The Ugly: Why do I keep signing up for races in the summer??????? [enter weather expletive here]

3,547th out of 5,945
66th in 40-44 age group

Big10k BibRave Pros race

Orange is the new fast!

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