Archive for the ‘RACE RECAPS’ Category

September 21st, 2017

Bucktown 5k 2017

When I started running in 2013, I didn’t know anything about races. “Racing” sounded intimidating and I didn’t know if I was worthy enough to participate in a timed event. Honestly, I registered because I liked the neighborhood, and I knew that there would be a good chance that I’d find a delicious post-race brunch place around the corner from the event. Years later and a handful of less intimidating race moments, the reasons I registered for Bucktown years ago are the same reasons I give our runners when they haven’t made up their minds about signing up for the race. Luckily, the Chicago flag fleece blanket was also an added incentive that I couldn’t stop raving about. RAM Racing wanted to acknowledge the city flag’s 10 year anniversary with a special goodie bag this year, which many of our runners were impressed by.

Registered participants who received the blanket probably kept the blankets stowed away since the weather during Sunday’s race wasn’t your typical autumn day. The sun was out for another warm but beautiful morning as about 2,500 runners and walkers gathered around Burr Elementary School in Bucktown. Unlike last week’s Run Mag Mile race that took runners through one of the most popular streets in Chicago, the Bucktown 5k offered participants the perfect view of what a lazy Sunday morning in Chicago looks like. The course meandered through tree-lined streets as children and their parents gave out high-fives, and a little girl was even selling cookies!

Local runner, Mario Castrejon, who’s on his journey of finishing 25 races this year, crossed the Finish Line with all smiles. Besides the course being flat and the event being accessible by public transportation, he appreciates the fact that instant photos and results are offered to all participants. This is especially true when you’re trying to PR like Mario: “I’ve run the Bucktown 5k before and it gets better every year because you guys (RAM Racing) put on well-organized races. When I’m trying to hit a goal, these things matter.”

Next year marks the Bucktown 5k’s 20th anniversary and if you’re familiar with our races, we love celebrating milestones! We’ve already started working on some exclusive Bucktown 5k goodie bag items so take advantage of the lowest price of the season and register now!

Happy Running,

Jill Andrada, RAM Racing

September 14th, 2017

Run Mag Mile 2017

One Day to Run and we were so excited that this was the day to do it! On September 9th, about 3,200 participants crossed the Finish Line at the Run Mag Mile 5k & 10k race. The sold out event started and finished at Grant Park with a stretch of the course taking runners down the most popular street in Chicago.

I decided to swap my RAM Racing safety vest for a participant bib that morning, joining our runners in a scenic running tour of my favorite city. When walking to the Start Line, I was pleasantly surprised to see CLIF representatives passing out CLIF Shot Bloks and Nuun Hydration stations. As a nocturnal runner who strongly believes in lazy weekends, I skipped breakfast for sleep so I appreciated the sustenance before a 6.2 mile run.

Throughout the course, I enjoyed seeing a diverse group of participants from casual walkers to people training for the Chicago Marathon in their charity team shirts. The collective enthusiasm and support from volunteers and spectators offered a glimpse of the celebration just past the Finish Line.

The post-race party seemed to be an event on its own- the sun seemed to be congratulating everyone with a pat on the back, the beer was flowing, there was a line for the bags set, music was playing, and there were smiles all around. Was this a race or just a bunch of friends hanging out in the middle of Grant Park? It was a nice reminder that summer isn’t over! When I was drinking a cold Oktoberfest from Revolution Brewery and raving about how good the Amylu sausage was, I was able to snap a quick photo of two women dancing and Kristen Heckert (female 10k winner!) probably running to the stage to pick up her prize.

The good vibes kept me around a little longer because of all the activities and booths from our sponsors and affiliates. MB Financial had fun, interactive activities in which winners were given gift cards, Aligned Modern Health staff helped runners with recovery stretches, and Run Mag Mile’s official charity, Teen Living Programs, was also present to talk about their organization.

Run Mag Mile 2017 was such a great success that we’ve opened registration for next year. Make sure to register now for the lowest price and mark September 8, 2018 on your calendar!

Happy Running,

Jill Andrada, RAM Racing

August 17th, 2012

Terrapin 5K & Music Festival – 2012

Following the ’09 Terrapin 5K, Liz Plosser wrote in her race report for Time Out Chicago “Exercise, endorphins and beer? Last night the Terrapin 5K had to be the city’s happiest happy hour.” that tradition carried through this year’s event on August 2nd and was improved by the expansion into a Music Festival!

Participating and covering the event, NewCity correspondent Zach Freeman wrote:

“Milking the pre-Lollapalooza music festival vibe that’s in the Chicago air in early August, RAM Racing has expanded the music-festival part of the event, with race grounds including two stages, merch tents, LOTS of port-a-potties and plenty of food and beer”

“And when it comes to post-race partying, Terrapin delivers the goods in the form of six musical acts and a relaxing festival environment.”

“Organization (gear check, etc.): For the most part, these guys have events like this running like a well-oiled machine.”

The award for best dressed of the #Rammies goes to Erica Reid of the weblog

“Then, several years later, I started running, and learned that there was a Grateful Dead themed 5K called the Terrapin 5k, to celebrate Jerry Garcia’s birthday. Last year, I was most excited about this race, cause I wanted to run it as Bob Weir. Then I fell off my bike. HEARTBREAK. So this year, I was UNSTOPPABLE. I did an amalgamation of old and young Bob, with jean shorts (look they have their own Facebook page!), a Ratdog tank top, a guitar, and a gray wig and beard.”

Erica Dressed as Bob Weir by Fuzzy Gerdes on Flickr!

Her husband, and fellow #Rammies member, FuzzyCo Blogger Fuzzy Gerdes of the FuzzyCo weblog was also kind enough to blog about the race:

“The main indication she was Bob Weir was the Ratdog tanktop she made, so she got lots of ‘Happy Birthday Jerry’s’. Cie la vie. Shaun and I ran a nice fast (for me) 5K and Bob Weir ran pretty fast for a 64 year old man (or for a woman who last year was unable to run this race at all because of her injuries).”

Also, just as he, Erica and Shaun did after Big Foot and South Shore, they made another race review podcast! Listen/download here (mp3).

Lindsay of the weblog Running the Windy City was impressed by how many #Rammies she saw!

“When we arrived I couldn’t believe how many people were there. It was incredible! I love that people want to spend their Thursday evenings running”

Pete of The Lakefront Trail weblog wrote

“There’s nothing like a well organized 5k with great music, great beer and partying on the lawn in front of Soldier Field with your neighbors to rejuvenate the tired marathon training soul. … The combination of a well-run race, great bands, great beer, and a beautiful setting, the Terrapin 5k is worth every penny.  Oh yeah, it makes things all the better when you can run a race p.r. and place in your age group!”

Alicia M was amongst those who thought the corrals worked well, as she commented on Facebook

“I’m ridin the wave too! I have to say I enjoyed the wave start. It is rare during a 5k that size I can hit my natural stride without constantly weaving in and out of people! But thanks to spreading it out I was able to. My husband PRed and I got my second best time 🙂 thanks RAM Racing!”

I Heart Pikermis blogger Maureen agreed

* “This is the first time in a long while that I think that the corrals were correct.”
* “Mile 3:  My legs definitely feel heavy.  I just want to be done.  My mantra during this mile?  “One step ahead is one step closer to beer.”  I’m not joking.  I was purely motivated by the Magic Hat at the finish line.”
* “My beer was delicious.  Totally worth sweating through my clothes to get it.  I LOVE RUNNING!”

See also her 2011 T5K Race Report!

Beer is a great motivator and Lauren of also loved hers, especially because it was part of an event supporting the Chicago Blade Runners!!

“Chicago Blade Runners were manning the Beer Tent, and there is a lot of overlap between this group and the Dare2Tri paratriathlon club I’ve been volunteering a bit with this year.  Yea for friends who will pass you a free beer! And yay for fundraising!”

Thanks to all you #Rammies who attended the Terrapin 5K and all of our spring and summer events! Look out next week for a spring/summer RAM Recap as well as a preview of this year’s Bucktown 5K!! If you haven’t signed-up, hurry, register here! Time is running out!!

By: Charlie Danoff /

August 10th, 2012

South Shore Tri – 2012

Official South Shore Triathlon 2012 Video by Brit Williams / RAM Racing

Saturday, July 28th was the 2012 South Shore Triathlon. Incredible morning on Chicago’s South Side where triathletes competed against their peers and themselves through challenging swim, bike and run courses with Sprint, Aquabike and Kids-Tri events! A bunch of you #Rammies were kind enough to post race reviews, and for that we say thank you!! Any time you post a race report please let us know via Facebook and Twitter!

About 3 weeks ago I convinced Josh and Michael to join me to do the South Shore Triathlon that was held today. I wish that my company was a convincing enough argument for either one of them to sign up, but what really won them over was the swag. They were sold after they saw the sweet bike jersey that they would get, with an outline of the city of Chicago. Either way, we had a great morning. This is one of the best dates Josh and I have been on in a long time! – Lindsay & Josh of the Stark Stories blog.

I did Chicago’s South Shore Triathlon this morning. Last time I swam without a wetsuit. This time I wore won. My swim was faster this year – by about two minutes. But my transition from swimming to biking was slower this year – by about two minutes. The trouble with wetsuits in triathlon is – the time you spend getting OUT of them counts against  you.

The advantage gained
was not retained.
– John E. of the Rhyme of the Day weblog.

I am a triathlete! #SouthShoreTri completed. @Leasellshomes via Twitter

Also Fuzzy and Erica, the couple who did the Podcast review of Big Foot Triathlon, were active in their race coverage again! Posting another “The Unnamed Race Reviews Podcast – Episode 03” (mp3) in addition to recapping the race on FuzzyCo (Fuzzy’s blog) and (Erica’s). Beyond an incredible opportunity for beginning and expereience Triahtletes to enjoy Chicago’s 63rd Street Beach, the event gave an opportunity for all of Chicago’s Triathlon community to come together, including Tri-Masters (see their race photo gallery on Facebook) and Dare2Tri who posted the video below on YouTube:

Finally, participant Israel Anotnio put out an incredibly moving race review that I’d like to close with;

There is no way I will ever know if I am better off as I am or if I would have been better off sighted. I know I would take being sighted in a heartbeat. I have heard some people who are blind say they would never change if given the opportunity because being blind is who they are. I say I have a medical condition which caused me not to have my sight, but blind or blindness is not who I am. It is not my life. Marathons, triathlons, plays, screenplays, brother, friend, lover are all things which I am. I just happened to have misplaced my sight many moons ago. I still hope that one day my sight is restore. For now, I guess I will see by experiencing. This weekend I saw what I could do on a bike and run. I know have many more miles to go to grow and get better. I also saw that I am improving. That little boy who lost his sight twenty-one years back had one tremendous experience on Saturday and will have many more in races to come. Israel Antonio’s Blog

If you have questions or comments, please share via Facebook and Twitter (be sure to include #Rammies so we can find your tweet!). If you’d like more details on the event, please read our official press release.

By: Charlie Danoff /

July 12th, 2012

Big Foot Triathlon – 2012

Recently in Lake Geneva us here at RAM put on our 6th annual Big Foot Triathlon. If you haven’t been to see Wisconsin’s GenevaLake, you’re missing out! It’s one of the prettiest bodies of water I’ve ever seen and it’s only a hour and a half from the Chi.

Heading up to the race The Kenosha News and Janesville Gazette gave local residents a heads-up about the Sunday event. Good thing too, as it was a busy weekend in Lake Geneva: tri coincided with Vespa Club of America’s 20th annual Amerivespa. They had 660 scooters on display, setting a North American record!

Conditions were incredible race morning with sunny, clear-blue skies and a start time water temperature of 73 degrees. Volunteers and local police were amazing making sure all the triathletes had a safe course to try for a PR! As we noted in our official press release Team Zucco won most of the races. Coach Adam Zucco was also kind enough to briefly discuss his Big Foot tri experience in an episode of his Training Bible podcast.

Fuzzy Gerdes gave a thorough recap of the event starting with Packet Pick-up through the Post-Race Party in a podcast (mp3). He also did a quick write-up in his blog, noting:

“I felt pretty hardcore swimming without a wetsuit, the bike was gorgeous (despite all the hills), and I had a little tickiness in my knee that prevented me from going flatout in the run … And yes, having Magic Hat No. 9 as the post-race beer was a lot nicer than Michelob Ultra or what-have-you.”

Fuzzy’s positive sentiment was similar to what other participants wrote on Facebook:

* Daniel M: “Very well organized race today, Great job guys!”
* Aaron L: “As always thank you for setting the standard by putting on a well run, well organized, fun and safe race today. Bigfoot is always on my must do list every season and it’s easy to see why!”
* Judy Y: “Great course. Love RAM and Running Away Multisport. Awesome, results show I placed 3rd in my division, missing 2nd by 27sec’s !! Guess i shouldn’t have taken time to spray bug repellent before run in beautiful path through the woods?!”

Don’t worry Judy! You’ll do better next race and it’s always important to keep the bugs away!!

Finally, Fuzzy’s friend Erica (whose also on his podcast) closed her race recap blog post with a true competitor’s spirit:

“The interesting thing about these hardqore races is that, no matter how hard they are, when they are done, I instantly want to do them again. I want to swim in the lake. I can’t wait to run again. I want to bike. I love that, even though I might struggle to get through something, the lingering aftereffect is not “no way, I am done with that” but instead, “when can we do it again?” Add to that the fact that I was so happy for all 3 legs of the race, and therefore I can proudly say I am a Triathlete.

“The next Sprint is July 28th…BRING IT. YEAH!”

We look forward to seeing you Erica and triathletes across Chicagoland later in July at the South Shore Triathlon July 28th!

So, RAMmies how was your Big Foot race experience? Did you set a PR? Are you ready for SST at the end of the month?

Official 2012 Big Foot Triathlon Video:

Please comment below or hit us up via Facebook or via Twitter (be sure to include @RAMRacing and/or #RAMRacing so we can find your tweet)!

By: Charlie Danoff

June 28th, 2011

Meet the Tri-Masters

“Tri, and you can master anything in life.” This is the motto of Tri-Masters Sports Initiative Programs. For the past 20 years the Chicago chapter of Tri-Masters, founded by Bernard Lyles, has provided a safe haven for minority children living in at-risk communities around the city. Lyles and his team have worked to create a safe and productive environment where children can focus their efforts on endurance sports and training for triathlons, therefore reducing the likelihood of the child’s involvement in gang or drug-related activity. The organization has taught more than 1,500 of the city’s youth athletes the idea that, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.

Tri-Masters, a not-for-profit organization, was initially founded in 1987 in New York by triathlete Alvin Hartley, who was frustrated by the lack of other African Americans at events; the organization’s website states that the number of African-Americans at race events is less than 1%. This statistic motivated Hartley to form an organization that will draw more minorities to endurance sports events.

After meeting Hartley and his team at an event in Chicago, Bernard Lyles was inspired to start up a Chicago chapter. Lyles shared Hartley’s frustrations about the lack of minorities at races, which inspired his involvement in bringing the organization to Chicago. To Bernard, training with other people is a rewarding aspect of sports. “When you run together, you get to know a lot about somebody,” Bernard explained. Though Tri-Masters had an adult training program for triathlons and marathons, Bernard focused on creating the Youth Sports Initiative.

“I wanted to be someone the kids could count on,” Bernard said while explaining his reasons for starting the youth program. Lyles feels that triathlons can teach a person a lot about life. By making triathlons accessible to children who don’t otherwise have the resources to participate, Lyles hoped to create a program that would better the lives of minority children in the city of Chicago. “All you need is the desire, a facility, and a couple volunteers,” Lyles stated.

Finding a facility and funding to start the program was hard for Bernard and his team. After going to several potential facilities, Tri-Masters finally found a home at Chicago State University. Dr. Delores Cross, the president of the university at the time, was a member of Bernard’s running club and, after hearing about Tri-Masters, she provided the space they needed to begin. With a facility and a small grant from Chicago Community Trust, the Tri-Masters Youth Sports Initiative was born in 1992.

With their 20 year anniversary approaching, Bernard has had the chance to witness many of his athletes achieve success in their lives. He recently went to a triathlon to cheer on a former Tri-Masters youth who had participated in the program for nine years. “I was so proud,” Bernard beamed. The organization hopes to continue growing with the next chapter of Tri-Masters opening in Madison, WI. “It’s been 20 years of struggles and good times,” Bernard explained.

Tri-Masters is a bright light in the lives of many of the city’s youths. With the support of the community, Bernard Lyles hopes to continue expanding and providing children with valuable life experiences.

We here at RAM want you share this inspiring organization’s message with the people in your life. We encourage you to come cheer on the Tri-Masters youth athletes at RAM Racing’s South Shore Multisport Festival on July 30th ( Come out and show your support for a truly inspirational cause. With the help of fellow runners and community members, Tri-Masters can continue to change the lives of children in need. Visit the Tri-Masters website at to see what you can do to help out!