DPR Trail Half Marathon Race Review

DPR stands for Des Plaines River which we crossed a few times along the course. This is the second trail run I have done but the first that designated itself as an actual trail run with a trail briefing and everything. If you are looking for a challenge there is a 50 miler, a marathon and of course the half distance. They are all in the same area (the Half Day Forest Preserve which is near Vernon Hills, IL), though some courses were longer than others.

 The races have staggered starts, with the 50 miler starting at 7, marathon at 8 and 9 a.m. start for the half. I rolled in around 8a.m. to a full parking lot so had to park in the overflow area near the Homestead Suites across the street. This race only has race day packet pick-up. I grabbed my race number and long sleeve tech shirt and decided I was too lazy to walk back to my car to drop it off so just tied it around my waist.
 There were a few booths with bagels and bananas and 5 hour energy.
 Packet pick-up was well organized and easy. The volunteers were great which was the theme throughout the event. Thank you awesome volunteers.
 It was chilly at the start and stayed a good temp throughout the race. There was lots of shade so my running skirt (probably the last appearance of the year, hello cold weather) and long sleeve shirt were perfect.
 They had one campfire going for us to huddle around before the race. After a quick briefing about the course and where the aid stations were we all headed to the start which was a timing mat. This race overall was pretty low key but has the essentials. Now get ready for the bombardment of beautiful fall pictures.

 This race was fun to run because the course was amazing. It was not my best showing, official finish in 2:08:03, but I think is up there on my list of favorite races. It was put on well and was so beautiful and easy on the joints with the dirt trails I think I would do it again. The weird thing about the course is that it felt like going out there was a lot of gradual uphill so of course I am thinking, win downhill on the way back. But then when we turned around and headed to the finish it felt like it was uphill. Um what the heck. But even with that it was still a great race.

Pros of this race:

  • awesome medal
  • great shirt
  • nice trail run
  • good weather
  • fun bbq after the race to refuel
  • well organized and great volunteers
Cons of this race:
  • this course seemed hard to me, I struggled the whole time, but I think it had more to do with me feeling off than the actual course being difficult. There were no large extended climbs or anything though some steep inclines to bridge crossings.
  • there are only a couple of aid stations so bring your own water if you need it and your own fuel
  • this race was a little on the expensive side for races around here ($80) so something to consider
After finishing this race I tried to choke down a burger before heading home but just couldn't do it for some reason. So instead I ate a cookie (funny had no trouble eating that) and headed home. I refueled with some Subway a few hours later, watched some TV while icing and compressing and got ready for round two- Monster Dash Chicago.


  1. The views looked amazing. Wow. I'm so jealous of your foliage but...I'm not jealous of the chills. BTW, you're still a big deal in my book!! Nice work!!

    1. Learning how to deal with cold weather is tricky. I am pretty sure this winter will be tough since I am a big AZ sissy now when it comes to cold weather. :)

  2. Looks like a beautiful course. The hills... i just dont know what to do about those while living in Chicago. This makes me want to run a trail race and get out of the city!


    1. You should try a trail run. I didn't think I would like them as much as I do. It is a very scenic and peaceful way to run. Thanks!

  3. I am so so so jealous of the beautiful fall! Keep posting pictures so I can live vicariously through you :)

    1. Will do. It is very pretty here but I am sure I will singing a different tune in about a month when it snows:)

  4. I think 2.08 for a trail half is a spectacular time, I think you're doing yourself down!Trail runs are much slower than road runs, aren't they?? (This from the girl who has never run a trail run). I also love the photos, esp the one with you in it, how did you get that one?? Congrats, this looks like SO much fun and such a good job.

    1. Not me in the picture. I just take pictures of other people in running skirts I guess! I think trail runs are a little slower since you have to be on the lookout for hazards. I am way happy with a 2:08:).

  5. What a PRETTY course! And I love the medal! I would die for a 2:08, I think that is fantastic, nice job.

    1. Thank you! The medal was pretty awesome, more than I was expecting.

  6. I think completing a trail race (without falling down) is a feat. Running it in 2:08?!? Impressive!


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