The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and fast course that starts and finishes in Grant Park and travels through one of the world’s most magnificent cities.
The course has produced four world records, several national records and countless personal bests. Runners enjoy the support of 1.7 million spectators as they run through 29 neighbourhoods.
Run alongside amateurs and world record holders as you weave your way through 29 historic neighbourhoods and landmarks. The atmosphere alone will get you through those 42.195 kilometres.
Sounds good right? Well it is! Having run marathons all over the world ourselves, we highly recommend travelling abroad to race. We can even do better than make recommendations, we can help you book a travel package that will save you money and give you peace of mind so you can concentrate on running your marathon.
It’s always amazing doing marathons with Travelling Fit and Chicago was no exception, you always feel part of a team. The hotel was located in a great part of town which certainly played a big part in making my trip to Chicago a great experience. A big thank you again to everyone at Travelling Fit.
Excellent trip to Chicago, staff are very professional and relate well to people. A trip well organised and excellent accommodation, looking at booking my 3rd trip away with Travelling Fit real soon
I have been with Travelling Fit for 6 years completing 5 Marathons and a Half Marathon. They have a great team that provides a fantastic service that no other travelling Company in Australia can match. I can't see myself using any other Travelling Company, and will definitely use Travelling Fit again and again. Very Happy to endorse Travelling Fit as the Premier Travelling company in Australia. The 6 overseas Trips have more than met our expectations.
The marathon majors are wonderful experiences and Chicago is no different. The thrill of the event and the support from the crowd is amazing. To be part of the Travelling Fit group and share information and stories with like-minded people in what is really an individual activity also cannot be underestimated.
I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU! for organising such an awesome marathon event. Our accommodation was amazing, so close to everything and the steam room, pool, and spa came in handy after the race. Yes I got to run!! I was so excited after being so injured! I think I was smart at the right times ha ha. I would love to take a group from our gym over next year to run it as I think it’s one of the best marathons I have completed...
Many thanks for organising a great trip to Chicago! The marathon was amazing - best I've run in terms of time and atmosphere!
Firstly let me say again how happy I am with the service and communication provided by Travelling Fit for the Chicago Marathon. Travelling Fit again just do what is needed to fulfil my needs in achieving my goals. It is now my third overseas marathon with Travelling Fit and I can only sing praises for your service. I was only doing one marathon when I started, now I am doing 6! No doubt Travelling Fit is to blame for part of this. You make it too easy. It is always so comforting to know that Travelling provides a service that is worry free and simple in it's instructions for participants. The best part of this is that I understand the complexity of organising the event entry, accommodation, transport and needing us to feed information back to you to make it "look" simple. Getting information out of me is difficult enough.
Thinus and I just wanted to say thank you for all your help with organizing the Chicago Marathon, and all the others for that matter. We had a great trip and everything ran really smoothly so thanks for all your recommendations.
I did the Chicago Marathon with my husband as part of our honeymoon - it was amazing!!! This was my third marathon through Travelling Fit and I will certainly continue to use them in the future - so friendly, professional and organised! Thank you Travelling Fit!
Travelling Fit is a fully accredited travel agency, providing a full range of services to our clients.
This enables us to book all your additional touring to help you create your perfect holiday experience.
Your entry fee for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is included in the cost of your package.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon does not require a qualifying time.
Seeded Coral Starts are available for qualified participants.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon starts at 7.30 am from Grant Park, Chicago.
The Race Day schedule is as follows:
- 5:30 a.m. – Gear check opens
- 5:30 a.m. – Start corrals open
- 7:20 a.m. – Wheelchair Start
- 7:21 a.m. – Handcycle Start
- 7:23 a.m. – Athletes with Disabilities Start
- 7:30 a.m. – Wave 1 Start
- 8:00 a.m. – Wave 2 Start
- 8:35 a.m. – Wave 3 Start
Note that your Travelling Fit representatives will be guiding you to the race start which is less than 10 minutes walk from your hotel.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a course time limit of 6 hours and 30 minutes, at which time the course will re-open to vehicular traffic.
Participants must maintain a 15-minute per mile pace (approximately) and complete the full marathon distance—start line to finish line—within the event time requirement.
Those who finish outside of the time limit will not be recorded as official finishers and may not receive full on-course support from aid stations and traffic personnel.
Timing checkpoints are positioned at the start line, at each 5K, at the halfway point (13.1 miles) and at the finish line.
Your MYLAPS BibTag timing device will register split times at each of these checkpoints.
All participants are required to pick up their marathon packet from the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.
Note: If you choose to book the 5 Day/4 Night package you will be escorted to the Expo on Friday, straight after the Chicago River Lunch Cruise.
You will require your Confirmation Ticket or Confirmation E-mail and your photo ID when picking up your race packet.
Race Packets and bags are not available for pick up the day of the event and will not be mailed to participants
Your race pack will include
- Bib number* and safety pins
- MYLAPS BibTag timing device
- Gear check tag
- Nike participant running shirt
- Participant bag
Registered participants age 21 and over will receive a tag on their bib number redeemable for one Goose Island beer following the race.
Nike Pace Teams can help participants achieve their performance goals.
Marathon veterans serving as Nike Pace Team Leaders will set the pace according to the following finish times:
3:00, 3:05, 3:10, 3:15, 3:20, 3:25, 3:30, 3:35, 3:40, 3:45, 3:50 and 3:55
4:00, 4:10, 4:25, 4:30, 4:40 and 4:55
5:00, 5:10, 5:25 and 5:45
A total of 20 Aid Stations supplied with fluids, medical facilities and other amenities are positioned throughout the course to provide aid to runners during the race.
Each Aid Station is equipped with Medical Tent with access to a Runner Transport vehicle, Toilet facilities, Gatorade Endurance Formula (lemon-lime flavor), Public address announcer and Water
Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews will be available in Orange and Fruit Punch flavors at Aid Station 10 (Mile 13.2). One serving of Gatorade Endurance Energy Chews provides 31 grams of carbohydrate, 110mg of sodium and 120 calories.
Caffeinated flavors offered are Lemon-Ginger and Watermelon. Non-caffeinated gel flavors offered will be Mango and Apple Pear. The Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Gel station is located at Aid Station 14 (Mile 18.2). One serving of Gatorade Endurance Non-Caffeinated Energy Gel provides 20 grams of carbohydrate, 100mg of sodium and 80 calories. One serving of Gatorade Endurance Caffeinated Energy Gel has 30 mg of caffeine.
Aid Stations 15-18 (Miles 19.5-23.5) will offer Chiquita Bananas .
Medical support is available at 22 on-course locations: all 20 aid stations and additional medical tents located between Mile 14 and Mile 15 and in the final mile.
Personal Refreshments and Clothing
Before the marathon, all participants (open and seeded) may store their warm-up clothing in their designated Gear Check Tent within the Start/Finish area.
Camelbaks® and any type of hydration backpack are not permitted.
For the avoidance of doubt, fuel belts and hand-held water bottles are allowed. Please be aware you may be asked to empty the contents of these containers before entering Grant Park
The hotel that Travelling Fit has partnered with as part of our Marathon packages are located within walking distance to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon race start and finish area.
The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo features over 100 exhibitors offering Bank of America Chicago Marathon merchandise and the latest in running footwear, apparel, nutrition and technology.
Additionally, the Health & Fitness Expo is the home of the participant packet pick-up for all Marathon participants. Held at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the two-day Expo is free and open to the public
The Expo will be held at:
McCormick Place Convention Center
2301 S. Martin Luther King Dr
Chicago, IL 60616
Friday, 7 October
9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, 8 October
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
If you choose to book the 5 Day/4 Night package you will be taken to the Expo on Friday.
Race Packets and bags are not available for pick up the day of the event and will not be mailed to participants.
Finishers T-shirts, Medals and Certificates
A medal will be awarded to all official finishers who complete the full distance within the 6hrs 30mins cut-off.
The average temperature for October in Chicago is between 8 to 18 degrees Celsius (48 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit).
Saturday 8th October
International Chicago 5K (recommended)
Chicago Marathon Race Review – David FoongChicago Marathon A pre-flight morning paddle at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool and a fantastic breakfast spread prepared by Mum for visiting relatives from Malaysia precedes a 12+ hr flight from ...
A pre-flight morning paddle at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool and a fantastic breakfast spread prepared by Mum for visiting relatives from Malaysia precedes a 12+ hr flight from Sydney to San Francisco on a Saturday the week prior to the race. Key objectives are to:
- reset the body clock to the different time zone;
- figure out the week’s nutrition plan; and
- gauge fitness levels.
Smooth flight into the States, made all the more comfortable thanks to a brilliant cabin upgrade! The ability to lie flat means that the hip flexors remain loose and the hard work of the AM swim is not undone.
The days spent in California consist of the following:
- Saturday PM: 2 km easy swim at North Beach Pool;
- Sunday AM: 21 km easy-moderate run from the Golden Gate Bridge to AT&T Park;
- Monday PM: 2 km moderate swim at a YMCA in Palo Alto;
- Tuesday AM: 8 km easy run in the Stanford University campus; and
- Wednesday PM: 5 km warm up jog; 6x80m sprints; 5 km cool down at Tilden Park.
Take the first flight out to Chicago on Thursday morning where to my surprise I’m greeted by temperatures in the high 20s. Fortunately, the weatherman tells us to expect something in the mid-teens come race day. Before the day is done, I make sure the basics are obtained:
The Friday and Saturday Chicago plan is to stay plenty hydrated and spend as little time on the feet as possible.
Friday morning’s city tour with some of the Travelling Fit contingent is the first time many of us are formally meeting each other and it’s really great to see no shortage of smiles:
Word on the street is that President Obama is heading home for lunch before again hitting the campaign trail in town. That’s nice but for us it means a not insubstantial delay waiting for his motorcade to pass.
Minus points on the nutrition front as it’s already been three hours between meals…why didn’t I bring those Nature Valley snack bars? However, almost all is forgotten when we finally arrive at the impressive expo where there are plenty of food offerings to graze on. Personally, the priorities here are to get the race bib, escape the throngs asap and take pressure off the feet, but not before Leonor from Canberra takes control of the camera for a couple of snaps:
Sticking rigidly to the plan, Saturday is spent somewhat impatiently sitting around in the hotel room, flicking between NBC weather reports and the Golf Channel. A few members of the Travelling Fit group take part in the morning’s inaugural International Chicago 5K run. While undoubtedly a terrific event, for today I’m only too happy to live it vicariously through stories told over the team’s pasta dinner:
4 am alarm on Sunday morning triggers the usual breakfast formula (white bread base, peanut butter for protein, sliced banana and a dressing of honey to provide the additional carbs) and some sips of instant black coffee provide me with the necessary boost before stepping out the door at 5:30.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s still remarkably warm? Clearly not, as on the walk over to Grant Park I notice that some runners are already down to their racing gear making me appear slightly ridiculous lugging the entire kitchen sink:
With 5 mins to the 7:30 start, time for a quick self-check: stomach feels fine, legs ok if slightly wobbly given a lacklustre warm up consisting of 10 mins jogging and light stretches. I decide that a result under the 3 hour mark today would be really nice – entirely achievable given the Blackmores Half.
Straight off the gun, I’m looking around for a pack to run with. Nike’s 3 hr pace group about 50 m in front? Sounds inviting and I set off in pursuit. Along the way, the watch beeps erratically, giving me roller-coaster readings as the GPS signals have a hard time getting through the tunnel walls of N. Columbus Drive. This leaves me virtually running blind meaning that I catch the Nike group within 400 m before the left turn onto E. Grand Ave, and in the process expending more energy than I should this early.
Another slight left south onto N. State St and as we pass the landmark Chicago Theatre I catch sight of tour group leader Felicity, camera in hand, but she’s standing on the other side of the road.
Not the time to navigate a stampede – too many feet and the inevitability of a trip-up is something I can do without. My attention turns to Jose Luis Callado who surges past at a reasonable clip and I decide to tag along for the ride. For the next few ks up N. La Salle Blvd and into Lincoln Park it’s a two-man train employing an army left-right-left-right running style to avoid others:
As the km markers increase, so too do Callado’s average splits. Thankfully, Daniel Nassar goes by and I find myself drafting behind him on consistent 3:50-4:05s. Per Google, he has a 2:50 Boston Marathon which confirms that the decision was a good move. While there is a noticeable decrease in form (hunched shoulders from staring at Nassar’s feet mimicking his cadence) this hides the bigger picture energy savings from not having to perform goal pace mental arithmetic.
The day’s first real test comes at 12 km, where after briefly running west along W. Addison Street we make a left to run south on N. Broadway into a reasonable headwind. I steal a quick glance up from Nassar’s feet – he looks strong and can act as my wind block. Just before the halfway mark on N. Franklin Street, welcome cheers float over from the Travelling Fit support crew who’ve somehow found a way to navigate their way around barricades and the crowds.
21.1 km in 1:25:45.
The next 10 km are all about putting time in the bank for the harder latter stages of the race. Heading west into Greektown and looping back through Little Italy, Nassar thinks similarly and puts down a couple of 3:30–40 splits. Good on him for taking the initiative. Hence, while the course map takes us past key city landmarks, it’s all a case of out of sight, out of mind as I’m chasing a yellow shirt:
30 km marker sees us heading through University Village and into Pilsen. By now, we’re back up to 3:50s/km and the pace is honestly starting to feel hard. The field has been reduced to single file, and with sizeable gaps starting to appear between runners, crowd support (which has been tremendous all the way from the start) becomes increasingly important especially if you happen to be stuck out there on your own.
The heart wills me to cling onto Nassar (still looking strong) but the mind listens to the body and pressures me into survival mode. A race volunteer, Zhong Li, captures this phase at mile 23:
Nonetheless, one final 2.5 mile stretch north up S. Michigan Ave awaits. By now, Nassar has put about 80 m on me and much like a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, deep down I know that I won’t be able to climb back on board. I try everything (swing arms harder; lift head higher) to increase stride length to no avail as others are now passing by with the consistency of a Novak Djokovic backhand.
A brief kick right onto W. Roosevelt Road with a slight incline into a brutal headwind tries to deliver the KO blow but I survive and make the sharp left into the finishing straight on S. Columbus Drive. Needless to say, it’s rewarding to see the clock beginning with a “2” for the first time!
42.2 km in 2:52:36.
A 12 minute PB and finally an official member of the sub-3 club! I’m comfortable with the 2 min positive 2nd half split given this was:
- exaggerated by the strong headwinds coming back to Grant Park; and
- not helped by my final quarter nutrition strategy (minimal drink every 10 km except between 35 and 40 which saw me insatiably filling up at almost every drinks station; ½ banana for food) but which clearly can be tinkered with next time.
An Irish runner joins me on the slow and long walk back to the hospitality tent. Consensus is reached that the wind and the mini-hills ascending the numerous bridges were major handicaps today – he achieved a 2:35 in Berlin last year and ran 2:51 today. He also suggests that the paved cobblestones of Berlin provide a better surface for faster running. Not sure if I’m in complete agreement there but on this basis, should a 2nd attempt at Berlin be on the cards?
Back at the tent, John Yip from Toronto and his young family join me at the table. In the process of becoming Strava buddies, we trade war stories and share our mutual elation in safely qualifying for Boston 2018. It’s inspiring to hear that he manages to fit in triathlons and I will be excited to track his training regimen going forwards.
Post-race drinks sees two of the Travelling Fit team – Steve “Action” Jackson and John Warda – proudly display their Abbott Marathon Majors Six Star medals, meaning that they’ve now run each of the big races (Tokyo, London, Boston, New York, Berlin and Chicago) at least once. In amongst picking their brains, it emerges that Steve used to be a member of HurTS and has a mightily impressive 2:32 marathon PB to his name!
A slight shame to hear that he’s suffered a few injuries of late. Shin and Raj from Singapore also offer some valuable tips about running New York (long way to the start; undulating; cold) and London (quite flat but with many twists and turns).
The day is capped off with a well-earned porterhouse at Morton’s, sweetened by a bottle of Argentinian Malbec generously treated by the Murrays: Good food and conversation: the panacea for sore knees, ankles and feet.
Thanks to Felicity and the entire Travelling Fit contingent: well-organised and hard to top good company to discuss the highs and lows of a shared accomplishment! Equally grateful to Michelle Ai, my uni mentor now Chicago-based, for sorting out some serious accommodation issues at the last minute!
Chicago Marathon Race Review – Ginta ViliunasOn Sunday morning, together with 40,000 or so other runners in the start corrals, I was acutely conscious that the Chicago marathon was the first World Marathon Major event to be held on ...
On Sunday morning, together with 40,000 or so other runners in the start corrals, I was acutely conscious that the Chicago marathon was the first World Marathon Major event to be held on American soil since the Boston tragedy in April 2013. It has to be said that, on race day morning, I was in probably the safest place in the United States. The start area in Grant Park was an exclusion zone: apart from participants, race officials and volunteers, everyone was excluded for a substantial perimeter (800 metres or so). On our way to the start corral, there were several serious-looking helicopters – cruising quite low – overhead and about six massive cherry-pickers with rifle-armed, black uniformed personnel. The most impressive fellows, however, were hanging around in groups of three, looking particularly humourless: unbelievably fit-looking, ‘ripped’, plain clothes FBI agents (complete with earpieces and wires tucked behind their ears, just like in those CSI and NCIS shows on TV). I knew they were FBI, not because I have a highly-developed imagination, but because I read the very understated badge (about the size of an Aussie ten cent piece) on the lapels of their chic ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’ style, studied casual blazers. Although their outfits did rather stand out amongst the marathoners’ tech fabric gear, fuel belts (nervously stuffed with sachets of energy gels), compression socks and running shoes in every colour of the rainbow, these guys really looked as though they could have completed a full Ironman event, on zero notice and without a warm-up, wearing their blazers! More security measures were in clear evidence on the course: along the way, at apparently random intervals in front of the crowds of spectators, I saw about 20 or so uniformed, armed members of the Chicago Police force with very compliant-looking Alsatians. (I strongly suspect the dogs were also armed.) The security was awesome!
I will confess to a slight chill when the ‘first post-Boston WMM event on US soil’, thought actually struck home, but by then, I was well on the way to the start line and the very familiar first words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” could be – very faintly – heard over the sound system. The guy next to me, who turned out to have a beautiful baritone voice (and very, very good legs 🙂 immediately joined in the singing. Within a word of him joining in the anthem, everyone’s hands went over their hearts as we all sang, our voices soaring above the mass of tech fabric, running shoes and fuel belts, visors and that (by now quite familiar to me) smell of the start of a major event. It’s a distinctively clean smell: freshly-showered folk, the mint/eucalyptus fragrance of Dencorub type products having been recently applied and a bit of the sweet scent of Gatorade/Powerade around the place. Despite the very palpable nervous energy in the crowd, as we sauntered to our assigned start area, we sang loudly and with real feeling, all but drowning out the voice of the professional who was supposed to be singing it to us. It was a precious and really spine-tingling experience with, as one would expect, many choked-up and teary voices. After we finished the anthem, I thanked Beautiful Baritone With Good Legs for starting the singing. He turned to me, offered a firm handshake and with a mild yet clear southern drawl, said: “Why, ma’am, it’s an absolute pleasure. My name is Joe, I’m from Alabama and that’s how we roll! Have a great race!”.
I made my way to the front of the 3:30 pace group, standing next to Todd the Pacer, one of about six or so 3:30 pacers. I had ascertained that Todd was a 2:50 marathoner. He appeared to be seriously cool and seemed to be the guy who could get me home in dream time, despite my compromised training in the lead-up to Chicago… Sadly, it didn’t quite work out that way. Todd was a very encouraging running companion and an excellent pacer: he had something to say every now and again, (a perfect pitch of patter), a nice, self-effacing sense of humour and was easily able to punch out those metronomic Ks in a whisker under 5 min/K pace. Delighted that it looked as though I had found the Man Who Could Help Me Get There, I stuck with Todd – comfortably – until the 15K mark. Then It Happened. Totally without prior notice, Todd ran off the course, calling out to those of us who were using him as a (to that point, fabulous!) pacer, “Run with him!”, indicating one of the other 3:30 pacers. I was gobsmacked at this turn of events, not only that it happened at all, but also at my own reaction to it. I felt as though I’d lost my lifeline and motivation. I started to slow, just a little bit, then a tiny bit more…. It is ridiculous to blame the pacer and I am not doing that: I chide myself for relying on Todd to the extent to which I did. Hopefully, lesson learned! Stress seems to be a good teacher.
The course? The course itself is great, uber-flat. I don’t know why the organisers bother with an elevation map; it’s a dead straight line. The Chicago marathon course starts in Grant Park and takes runners through 29 unique neighbourhoods, passing many Chicago landmarks: we ran down Columbus Drive, along State Street and past the well-known Chicago Theatre, through the canyons of skyscrapers in the Loop, under many points of the “L” (elevated railway – think “Blues Brothers”), Lincoln Park Zoo, Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs), Old Town, Franklin Street Bridge, Little Italy, Pilsen, Chinatown, onto Michigan Avenue past the McCormick Place Convention Centre and the final Roosevelt Road overpass which turns back into Columbus Drive for the very welcome finish line. I think there were other landmarks along the final few miles (and I’m sure a map would inform me of them) but, the above are all that I remember… The official estimate was that of 1.7 million spectators lining the course, yelling, cheering, dancing and playing music. Tons and tons of zany costumes, posters, themed street parties in full swing. The supporting crowds in the mid-west are much more restrained than their New York cousins, but there were several randoms yelling and displaying posters with slogans along the lines of “Run faster, I just farted!”.
Although I was most keen on the Lithuanian Cheer Zone at Mile 17, there are 3 main Cheer Zones on the course: 1) the Bank of America Cheer Zone; 2) the Merrill Lynch Cheer Zone and 3) the US Trust Cheer Zone. : As always with a WMM event, the infrastructure was awesome. Everything was well-organised. The Chicago Marathon Expo, was amazing. Easily up there with the very best of them in terms of atmosphere, availability of any and every kind of running thing you can name, freebies of all kinds and loads more! The race boasted 20 well-stocked aid stations (each with water, Gatorade, toilets & first aid), plenty of volunteers to make sure that the runners got their stuff, security second to none, loads of medicos and support at the end for everything!
The knowledge that the Lithuanian Cheer Zone (the best one!) was ahead at Mile 17 sustained me for many a mile. I passed the time, displacing evil thoughts of Todd Betrayal, with happier visions of my dear Chicago Lithuanian friends (Alvida, Ruta, Daiva, Carina and Julija) who, together with a substantial representation from the Chicago Lithuanian Consulate, had sacrificed their Sunday morning and were out in force, near the University of Illinois. I thought that the magical “MILE 17” sign would never come…I was so, so, eagerly anticipating not only friendly faces and loud cheering but, critically, the banana which Daiva had said she’d have, ready for me. I saw them all from about 100 metres away. I couldn’t miss the very distinctive yellow, green & red Lithuanian flag, as well as the huge Aussie flag which Ruta had so thoughtfully procured and brought along :. I saw Alvida’s beaming smile from a long way off and Julija and Carina jumping up and down on the spot, waving madly! I have never been so grateful for the perfect specimen of a banana which Daiva, with shaking hands, was peeling for me (did I even say ‘Thank you?’…. oops! maybe not at the time!). Delighted and emotional, I saw my Vida at the front of the crowd. It was my intention to grab her face and plant a kiss on it – somewhere – but I’m afraid that I only managed a slobbery excuse of an encounter…. as I ran off, to the sounds of Vida saying “Oh my God, YUUUUCK!! That was really, really gross!”
The 2013 winners were both Kenyans. The men’s division: 29 year old Dennis Kimetto won in a Chicago course record time of 2:03:45 (pace: 2.93 mins/K), the 4th fastest marathon of all time. The women’s race: 32 year old Rita Jeptoo in 2:19:57 (pace: 3.32 mins/K), the fastest marathon in the world run by a woman in 2013. As for me, I got to the start as well as the finish without the need for any medical attention. Although not a totally flash time (3:58:10), as it was my 10th marathon in 5 years – particularly given the compromised training this time due to the Parisian knee – I’m very pleased. My personal stats: I placed 11,021st overall out of 38,881 finishers, 3,023rd out of 17,394 female runners and 34th out of 423 women in the 55-59 age division.
Although I read somewhere that over 1,000 medical volunteers were available on race day, I don’t believe it. I remain very confidently of the view that every medical practitioner and every medical student in the State of Illinois was in Grant Park on 13 October 2013. At the finish zone, as the 38,881 finishers made their way through the wonderfully red, white & blue coloured finishing gates, there they were, actively volunteering and so eagerly and totally ready to lend a hand to help out and attend to any medical needs, emergency or not. Happily, as no full-scale medical emergency occurred during this event, the result for all of these wonderful and selfless volunteers was that many of them appeared to be delightfully idle. After the finish line, with runners emerging from the Gates of Hell, the medicos actively scanned the runners, on the keen lookout for the walking wounded. Having received from the countless sterling volunteers, my heat blanket, my well-deserved (and very cool!) Chicago marathon medal and my goodie box of rejuvenating nourishment, I was absent-mindedly rubbing my right – slightly stiff – thigh muscle as I walked along, soaking it all in. During my 400 or so metre walk past the finish line, I received no less than half a dozen really earnest inquiries along the lines of “Are you all right, m’am?”, ” Would you like a doctor to have a look at that leg?” and three offers of a wheelchair. So, either I looked a whole lot worse than I felt, or the medicos were bored and looking for activity! Delighted that I didn’t need it, I declined all offers of medical aid, but, I have to say that, had there been an MRI machine handy, I might have taken them up on it, just to check things out!
Vida & I had a great time together in Chicago; she’s a very easy travelling companion and, happily for me, she always brings her very fine sense of direction with her. We had fun and some great food with the Aussie gang (Wayne Raven, Tina Tang, Alan Tyler and Gina Chapman-Davies). We also spent time with the Lithuanian element. That Litho Cheer Zone was truly awesome stuff; a major highlight of the race for me. I went to the Lithuanian Consulate afterwards for a reception for Lithuanian runners. It was the first time that I’d run any race – much less a marathon – with so many Lithuanian compatriots! There were about 14 runners either from Lithuania or Lithuanian citizens living in the States (plus me, a Lithuanian citizen living in Sydney :). Vida also got to see my old neighbourhood (Cicero): St Anthony’s (my old primary school and church) and the house where I grew up until the age of 12. And the really good news for Vida, is that she got to see all that in the company of her mother PLUS three of her mother’s dearest childhood/girlhood friends.
My next marathon is Boston on Patriots’ Day, 21 April 2014. That promises to be one awesome event. I predict many a tear will be shed: in the start area, along the course and at the finish…Can’t wait.