Q: When is the race?
A: Sept. 10, 2011 (9/10/11), 1st wave starts at 8 a.m.
Q: Where is the race?
A: Ohio Street Beach
Q: When is packet pickup/registration?
A: On race morning, check in opens at 6:30.
Q: How long is the race?
A: There is a 5K and a 2.5K distance.
Q: Is there a time limitation for either race?
A: All swimmers must be out of the water by 11 a.m. at the latest. A patrol boat will remove swimmers at 11 a.m. (yes, they will forcibly remove you from the water).
Q: Is there anywhere to park nearby?
A: Yes, Navy Pier has 2 garages available, and we offer a validation to get discounted parking.
Q: What is the course like?
A: The course is a triangular 2.5K course marked both by buoys. The 5K is twice around the triangle. Swimmers start in the water, and finish with a run up the beach.
Q: What is the expected water temperature on race day?
A: You are kidding, right? Water temps have varied between 60-80įF. Lake Michigan is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, and wind and currents can cause vast changes in water temperature in a very short period of time. Check outhttp://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/michigan/m54.html for real time temps.
Q: How can I register?
A: Go towww.clubassistant.com/bigshoulders and follow the prompts.
Q: Can anyone register?
A: No, you must be a USMS member, or get a One Event Registration.
Q: Do I need to be a full year USMS member?
A: No, you can obtain a One Event Registration atwww.clubassistant.com/bigshoulders.
However, please consider joining USMS and enjoy the many benefits and camaraderie.
Q: Is there an age limit for the race?
A: Yes, you must be 18 to swim in Big Shoulders. We are hoping to work with Illinois Swimming to hold an age group event for under 18 swimmers again this year.
Q: How much does registration cost?
A: $60 until July 1st, and price goes up from there if we havenít sold out.
Q: $60, thatís a ton of dough! Why so pricey?
A: Although we are an all volunteer committee, there are a lot of costs incurred in putting on a race like this, including a Chicago Park District sanction, paying the outstanding lifeguarding crew, paying for the timing company, the food, beverage, transportation, tents, buoys, and a bunch of other costs.
Q: Well, that still seems like a lot of money Ė where does the balance go?
A: Big Shoulders is a fundraising event for the Menís and Womenís Swimming and Diving
Teams at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as the Alliance for the Great Lakes. We proudly support these charities.
Q: What do I get for my $60?
A: Entry into one of the premier open water swimming events in the country, plus a commemorative Big Shoulders T-shirt, a race goody bag, and a spread of delectables to consume post race.
Q: Does the race have a maximum capacity?
A: Yes, the race will close at 1000 registrations for the 5K and 2.5K combined.
Q: Will the race sell out before race day?
A: Absolutely. It sold out 3 weeks before the race last year, and is well ahead of pace this year.
Transfers, Refunds, Deferrals, Cancellation
Q: Can I have a refund if I stub my toe or cough up a lung the week before the race?
A: NO, THERE ARE NO REFUNDS, TRANSFERS OR DEFERRALS FOR ANY REASON.
Q: Can I transfer my registration to a friend if I get the mumps?
A: No, see above.
Q: If I canít make it to the race, can I have the fee applied to next year?
A: No, thatís a deferral, and, as stated above, we donít allow them.
Q: What happens if the race has to be cancelled due to lightning, water quality, a plague of locusts or a meteor shower?
A: If weather issues arise on race morning, weíll wait it out as long as we can, but if the Chicago Park District tells us it isnít safe to put swimmers in the water, weíll cancel the race. In that case, weíll distribute shirts, medals, bagels, etc. BUT WE CANNOT OFFER REFUNDS OR DEFERRALS. The cost of the event is fixed and the money spent by race day.
Swimwear and Wetsuits
Q: Can I wear a wetsuit?
A: Absolutely, but you will swim in the wetsuit division, and scored against only other wetsuit swimmers. Results will be listed as Male wetsuit and Female wetsuit only, with no breakdown by age groups.
Q: I have a 3 year old Speedo Lazr/Blue Seventy/Tyr suit that is now illegal for pool swimming. Can I wear it and compete in the non-wetsuit division?
A: Hope you got a lot of swims in your fancy suit, because under new USMS rules, all suits that are disallowed by FINA and USMS for pool swims are likewise banned from open water swimming. However, you can wear your fancy shmancy suit in the wetsuit division.
Q: Can I wear a neoprene swim cap/hat?
A: Yes, so long as it does not extend below the neck, and you wear the supplied brightly colored cap that correlates to your wave.
Q: I have a latex allergy. Do I still have to wear your supplied cap?
A: No, but you must contact the race director email@example.com, find out the color of your wave, and bring a non-latex cap in that color for the race.
Training and Safety
Q: Iíve never swam an open water event before. Can I handle this?
A: If you can swim continuously in a pool for 30 min., you have a solid base and can begin training for the 2.5K. However, we recommend that all swimmers spend some time swimming in a lake or ocean to prepare for open water swimming. Learning how to breathe in choppy water, sight for buoys, swim in a pack, and turn around buoys is extremely beneficial to open water swimming and racing. We recommend that individuals interested in the 5K have completed an open water event before considering registration.
Q: Do you offer organized training sessions for open water swimming?
A: No, but there are many local coaches and programs to assist non-swimmers (aka triathletes) for open water swimming). Emailbigshoulders2011@yahoo.com for recommendations. Some groups also hold clinics on various weekends at the race site, Ohio Street Beach in Chicago.
Q: Who provides the safety at your event?
A: The Chicago Park District Lifeguards and supervisors provide the safety personnel to patrol and over see the course. In addition, the Big Shoulders Medical Team has a tent on the beach, and we have an ambulance on sight during the entire event.
Q: Do you have any deals with local hotels?
A: Yes, please refer to our website,www.bigshoulders.org after June 1st for a listing of hotels.
Q: Do you have any cool merchandise?
A: Yes, we offer a variety of hats, sweatshirts and shirts commemorating your awesome swim. Items will be available for sale atwww.clubassistant.com/bigshoulders