2016 Bucktown 5k Race Recap

On Sunday, September 18th, I ran the Bucktown 5k.   It was my first time running a timed 5k since my high school cross country days!  The last one I ran was the Back to School 5k in Milwaukee in 2013- I was first place female but I’m pretty sure the course was short and there were maybe 100 participants. Bottom line, I have been curious for a while about how I would do in a 5k.

This race came during my last build week for the Chicago Marathon.  Given that the race was held on a Sunday, I completed my last 20 mile training run the day before.  While I wanted to race the 5k to see how fast I could go, I also knew that I would be fatigued from the 20 miles.  My plan going into the race was to get a thorough warm up, and then sprint as fast as I could and see how far I got before having to back off.  I suppose that’s anyone’s 5k plan though.




Bucktown 5k Course

The course began at Burr Elementary school in Bucktown and wove its way around the neighborhood.  Normally, I don’t like many turns in a race, especially a short one, however I enjoyed the constantly changing course.  The variation took my mind off the intensity.




Packet Pickup and Race Swag
Just like last week’s Mag Mile Half, Fleet Feet hosted packet pickup.  There were 5 volunteers waiting to help when I went on Friday afternoon, but no lines.  I was in and out within 3 minutes.  In addition to curiosity about my 5k ability, I signed up for the race because of the race swag.  The giveaway looked AWESOME in the pictures: a Chicago flag themed hoodie.


Bucktown 5k hoodie and packet pickup bag- another drawstring bag to add to the collection!


My first impression of wearing the hoodie had some initial disappointment.  I was expecting a fleece hoodie but this is more of a technical material so it is not very soft.  It’s also snug. I had ordered a women’s small and debated swapping for a medium, but the medium was too big.  However, after wearing it around for a few hours I realized it’s warmer than I expected, and I really like the way it fits.  Nice job RAM.


Race Day

The Bucktown 5k started at 8:30 which was a big change from some of the other races I’ve done lately.  I actually could sleep in!  After eating my standard pre-race meal, I packed my duffel bag for a trip to the EDGE after the race.


I parked and did a 2 mile warmup run, drills and strides.  I was in the elite corral again, but unlike at the Big10k, I knew what to expect.  This time I was not caught off guard by other sprinting runners! ๐Ÿ™‚


The weather was perfect for a race, low 70s with hardly any wind, and the course was very shady.  The start area was huge- I did not expect there to be all the way to a K corral for this race!  The finish area was already packed with people waiting around for the race to start.  At the Nuun tent my poor friend Mandie was dealing with quite the crowd all by herself!


LONG lines pre-race to get a cup of Nuun. I've never seen a wait like this before a race.
LONG lines pre-race to get a cup of Nuun. I’ve never seen a wait like this before a race.


The Race

Honestly, the race was a blur but at the same time I was strangely present for every moment of it.  I can still vividly picture almost every detail of the course, spectators and other runners.  I’m not sure if that’s due to the fact that because it was so short I feel like I can remember it all, or because I was running at such an elevated intensity.
A few memories that stand out:

  • The crowd support was awesome the whole way through.  Bucktown certainly knows how to support runners!  There were families out with kids offering lemonade, fans with their dogs, or people spectating from their front porch.  The runners definitely felt the love, Bucktown! Thanks!


  • There was a group of middle schoolers (?) in the elite corral too.  They were no joke.  They went out faster than I did, and when I caught up to them around the water station, they were going strong as a pack.  One girl said, “See that girl up there? I’m going to pick her off starting at mile 2.”  I smiled to myself as I went by, loving her competitive spirit.


  • The 1st mile marker was off- It said I ran a 5:55 mile, yeah right! My watch lapped about a half block later. My watch was consistent with the other markers, which further supported my hunch.  Although, it would have been awesome to run a sub-6 minute pace… maybe one day.


  • Even though it was only 3 miles IT FELT LIKE FOREVER.


Clearly I was over this race. But...Best race photo ever?
Clearly I was over this race. But…Best race photo ever? YES.


If I go by my Garmin watch, I was pretty steady at first and then lost steam.  Splits were 6:18, 6:17, 6:25, for an overall time of 19:42. I ended 11th female overall and 5th in my age group.  I’m very happy with the result!



After the race I did a 2 mile cool down backwards along the course to spectate.  My friend Molly was also running the race and we were going to meet up after she was finished.  Around mile 2.5 I jumped into the race and helped her finish.  I was so glad to see her!  After that, I jogged back to the EDGE for an ice bath to finish out my last build up week for the marathon.


At the finish party!


Overall Thoughts

I was very impressed with the Bucktown 5k.  The spectators were fantastic, the swag was awesome, and everything ran smoothly.  Definitely run this race next year if you are looking for a fun 5k.  I plan to!



Did anyone else run the Bucktown 5k this year?  What was your experience?  Leave your thoughts below! 


Happy running,



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4 Comments on "2016 Bucktown 5k Race Recap"

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Pete B

Congrats on the speedy race despite running your 20 miler the day before. Your splits were pretty much even which is great.

Sharon Narrod
Hey Becca, Loved that picture of you and Molly. How great that you were able to meet up with her and (re)run the last bit of the race. Not in town, I’m visiting Martin and his fiancee in Jackson Hole Wyoming. I saw a bear! Saw other wildlife, but that was the best (viewed from the roof of their townhouse). Molly is bored with hearing about this! I’ve seen lots of runners, and can’t imagine running up (and down) the Grand Tetons. Wonder what kind of races they have out here. Wouldn’t want to be caught in a race with… Read more ยป