La Chica Runs the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank International Half

by lachicaruns on

[Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank International Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to find and write race reviews!]

In what may be a once-and-done race, my friends and I ran the Detroit Free Press/TCF International Half Marathon.

Packet pick-up was smooth and easy. My friend Janet and I parked right on the TCF Center (formerly known as Cobo) roof. We (OK, really, Janet) had looked up our bib numbers, so we walked right in to registration and got our bibs and swag bags right away.

The place was very well organized, with a couple of spots with the race logo set up for perfect photo taking. The booths had everything from race gear to running shoes to medal hangers.A selfie of the chica, wearing an orange sweatshirt in front of the expo with people milling in the background

A photo of people at the expo. Many wearing running gear and most everyone carrying the race swag bag.

Everything went so well that we were able to make it to an early dinner with our friend Michelle at Slows Bar B Q in Midtown before heading to our hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton in Dearborn (wouldn’t recommend), for the night.

A selfie of this chica, wearing an orange head band, with my friend Janet next to me, at the start of the race. We're both smiling.

Unfortunately, the hotel didn’t have coffee available for us, but we were able to hunt some down at a Starbucks close to the start line (corral M). Crisis averted.

Another selfie of this chica, showing my orange BibRave headband, at the start line.

We joined the back of the pack and the race started right on time. It wasn’t long before we saw the Ambassador Bridge.

A photo of the Ambassador Bridge, about four miles into the race. It's early and overcast.

Thankfully, Janet let me know that it would be several miles *after* we saw the bridge before we would actually be on it. It still was cool to see it early in the race. The next few miles included a big loop right next to a highway. Meh.

We finally got on the bridge and headed to Canada.
A selfie of this chica, wearing the orange Bib Rave headband, in front of the Ambassador Bridge. The sky is a bit orange in the background.

Because we started in the back of the pack, we easily stopped for lots of pictures.

The top of the Ambassador Bridge with an overcast sky.

The weather was perfect for a race, with temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s, with no wind and, thankfully, completely dry.

The view of Windsor from the Ambassador Bridge. Lots of tall buildings. The sky is overcast. The river is seen a bit on the right side.

The view was amazing. Even the long line of portable toilets was a welcome sight. Unfortunately, we were parched, but the aid station had run out of cups. Boo.

A row of about a dozen blue portable toilets with only three people standing outside. Most of the Ambassador Bridge spanning Detroit and Windsor, from the Windsor side.

The Canadian side went straight into a neighborhood, with lots of trees, apartments and houses.

A view of the Detroit skyline from the Windsor side. There are a couple of runners in front of us. A better view of the Detroit skyline from the Windsor side, with the RenCen on the right and Cobo on the left of the frame. Three people are walking in front of us.

We didn’t see a lot of spectators by the time we came through, but the course continued to have good signage. We saw the sweeper bus a couple of times, but picked up the pace and left it behind.

I had heard about the “underwater mile” — the tunnel that connects Windsor and Detroit, but didn’t know what to expect. Well, it allowed us to run down a bit of an incline, so we liked that a lot, until we reached about halfway where we saw the U.S. and Canadian flags. Lots of people stopped to take pictures to commemorate the mid-way point.

Inside the tunnel, with about a dozen runners behind us. It's a bit dark, but there are lights near the ceiling. There's a yellow divider line on the road. A selfie of this chica with the U.S. and Canadian flags behind me on the wall at the spot where you cross from one country to the other.

Once we neared the end, we were greeted by customs officers who cheered us on and gave us high-fives.

The rest of the race was uneventful…until I tripped on a pothole and skinned my knee pretty badly. Kudos to the medical tent team at the finish line for hooking me up with some ice.

Janet (on the left) and this chica on the right, at the finish line, holding up our medals. We're both smiling. You can see the finish line in the background and sponsor logos on the bottom of the photo. My leg, propped up on a white, plastic chair and an ice pack on my knee.

While I certainly enjoyed the race and recommend the experience, the timing in October means doing a half or a full just a month after my favorite race of the year (Run Woodstock 50K) and I just don’t think my body can handle the extended training schedule.

But if you want to be able to say you ran in two countries, and did an underwater mile, keep your eyes peeled for next year’s registration.

Have you run Detroit? Would you do it again? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.

1 Comment

M.R. Moore

This is one of favorite local races. I keep saying I’m not going to do it anymore, but I get drawn back. This year was no different. Congratulations on getting it done!


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