Runners brave freezing temps for half marathon at Soldier Field

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CHICAGO — While many Chicagoans were doing their best to stay inside during Saturday’s deep freeze, others hit the pavement for a half marathon at Soldier Field.

It’s the 10th year for the F^3 Lake Half Marathon & 5K.

“Two out of the three words in the F^3 are ‘freezing’ and ‘frozen,’” race director Zach Edmonson said. “So we think when people sign up for it, they knew what they were getting into.”

The third word, we won’t say on TV.

About 2,000 runners participated Saturday, including Mike Helffrich. It was the second time he ran the race, which takes runners around Soldier Field and along the lakefront to 63rd Street.

“My friends tell me I’m crazy for doing a lot of things,” Helffrich said. “Running outside in the winter is one of them.”

At race time, the temperature was 7 degrees. Edmonson said the runners who show up have been practicing and knew to expect freezing cold temperatures.

“We have a medical director on hand at the finish,” Edmonson said. “He has physicians on staff at spots along the way. We have cheer zones, aid stations. We have a number of SAG (support and gear) wagons keeping an eye on people. We’re doing our best.”

Those who finish the race get a hat, scarf, medal — and the right to brag about something most people can’t say they’ve ever done.

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