The race started at the historic 63rd Street Beach House, then continued north ~5-3/8 miles along Chicago's beautiful running/biking trail that is on park land between Lake Michigan and South Lake Shore Drive. At that point we turned-around, and upon then returning to the Beach House this completed one "loop" - of which there were three to assure the complete 50K distance. Since we switched back on numerous occasions we had plenty of opportunity to see and briefly interact with other competitors, both on the 50K and the 50-mile course. I found all of the runners to be uniformly friendly, which lent itself towards a very pleasant experience.
As regards my performance I'm very happy to report that I ran in 4:38:35 (a 8:58 pace), putting me in 20th place out of 209 finishers (top 10%), and 3rd place in my division. It was also a huge personal record - an improvement of 78-minutes versus my prior best 50K! While I was obviously very happy with this result, I had run only two prior races of this distance, and both in Huntsville State Park (which presented a far greater technical challenge owing to their narrow dirt trails, hazards and elevation changes.)
Reflecting on the key difference versus my much better executed Chicago Marathon performance (held three weeks prior), I attribute the Chicago Marathon's availability of numerous pacing groups - which take the burden off the runner in holding a consistent pace.
Nevertheless, a great day! I'm certainly glad that I ran the Chicago Lakefront 50K, and recommend the event highly.
- Another P.R. in my Newton shoes!