Review: Zooma Chicago Half Marathon

I know I’m super late in writing up a review for this race since it took place on August 2nd,but better late than never,right? 🙂

I thought about doing this race for awhile,the entry fee is a bit higher than most 1/2 marathons are,but ended up going for it when a blogger posted that there was a Groupon for a bit over 50% off the price of the race. I don’t necessarily run for the bling, but I really liked the medal for this race,and it being a smaller race with all women.

Race Morning:

Living out in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and doing races in the city means 3:30AM wake up call. My mom had originally signed up to do this race as well,but was having sciatic issues,but still did the early morning wake up to drive into the city with me. She’s a trooper!

After my morning breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter,doing some stretching at home,we were off.

We arrived downtown around 5:30 AM, and found our parking garage that we booked using the ParkWhiz app. This race was starting on the southern park of the Lakefront Path in Burnham Park. The official race hotel was the The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel,and we were told to pick up buses there and they would transport us to the starting line. Super easy process and made it less stressful finding parking near the start.

We arrived the starting area to a gorgeous sunrise over Lake Michigan.


Since I was unable to get downtown to get my packet before the race,I had a friend pick mine up for me and met her that morning. This was one thing I wasn’t too happy with,no packet pick up race morning. With living further out in the suburbs,it’s not super easy to get downtown on a Thursday or Friday night and grab your packet really quick. Thankfully you could have anyone pick it up for you.


Great view of the city from the start.

Loved the view of the city from the start area.

At a few minutes to 7 everyone starting getting into place,and the National Anthem was played. At 7 exactly we were off! This was a strong point for me,I hate waiting around in corrals and race starts being delayed. There was a 10K also taking place with the half marathon. As usual the first mile seemed a bit crowed,but after that everyone was spread out more. It was not a closed course,so there were some times that a few bikers seemed to be not so happy and got a bit too close to some runners.

The course consisted of 1 out and back going north,passing the starting area where the 10K people finished,followed by an out and back going south on the path. Not a bad course,but the second half definitely started getting really warm and sunny with no shade. I wore a hydration belt for the race, as I almost always do,but I know there was a major lack of water on this second part of the race.

My splits were as follows:

Avg Pace
Summary 2:01:14.0 13.13 9:14
1 8:49.0 1.00 8:49
2 9:26.3 1.00 9:26
3 9:19.6 1.00 9:20
4 9:15.7 1.00 9:16
5 9:10.0 1.00 9:10
6 9:28.1 1.00 9:28
7 9:06.5 1.00 9:06
8 9:16.8 1.00 9:17
9 9:22.5 1.00 9:23
10 9:10.2 1.00 9:10
11 9:25.0 1.00 9:25
12 9:26.9 1.00 9:27
13 9:00.9 1.00 9:01
14 1:01.5 0.13 7:3


Not super consistent,but not horrible. I know that first mile I always go out WAY too fast. Finish at 2:01,which was a new PR for me! I was thrilled! In doing marathon training, I definitely see my shorter distances slowly getting faster.

After the finish, they had some bananas,water of course, Muscle Milk Light, and some Cytomax electrolyte drink. I didn’t try it on the course,due to never having it before,but it was actually pretty good! We each had a ticket on our bib to turn in for a snack box. I liked it,since I’m a vegetarian. A grilled veggie sandwich along with a bag of chips.


There was also a tent that was giving out samples of Barefoot wine. I can’t remember the flavor I tried,it was the sweetest one they had,and it was really good! I would have liked to have tried others,but my stomach after a race can only handle so much wine. 🙂


Loved the bling for this race!

Overall, I really enjoyed this race,I’m sure getting a new half PR helped! 😉 I would sign up for this race again next year,although I still think the price is on the higher end. The swag was some of the best I have received.

Shirt,Feetures socks,bag,and hat.

Shirt,Feetures socks,bag,and hat.

Next up: Magnificent Mile Women’s Half Marathon August 31st!


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