Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Chicago Marathon was Hot!

If you haven't heard and have any interest in marathons, you will hear that today's 26.2 mile race in Chicago was one that broke many records, but they weren't time related. It was a record breaking scorcher of 87 degrees and high humidity. Runners were begging for water and walking as early as 5 miles into the race. I saw many leave the course in Lincoln Park to stand in line at a public drinking fountain, and others left the course for a few splashes to wet their heads at an ornamental fountain and they still had 21 miles to go. It was tough day for the 45,000 runners and not so easy either for the 1.5 million spectators on the sunny sidelines. I rode bicycle along most of the course but was stalled often due to the crowd and never connected with Livia, my daughter, until she was finished.
Livia crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 8 minutes, a very respectable time in the best of conditions, but she really wanted to break 4 hours. In the last mile of her run, she heard the police tell the runners to walk, that it was just a fun run. Livia couldn't understand why in hell they would call this run fun, and determined to complete it with the gumption she had given it the previous 25 miles, ignored their plea to walk. She didn't realize that the race had been canceled due to so many emergency calls and lack of water on the course. They diverted slower runners through a huge short-cut and Livia couldn't figure out why so many runners were coming in to the finish line from the opposite direction. It got very confusing; runners were collapsing left and right. One of Livia's friends who was watching the race near mile 21, caught a woman who collapsed in his arms and observed 4 others fall nearby. I honestly didn't see anybody collapse but I was near the front of the group where perhaps the runners were better trained and had access to more water to drink and pour over themselves. I stopped twice while riding my bicycle to help give water to runners which was hurriedly made available with hoses running out of local restaurants. The runners looked like they had been roaming the desert for days, and I couldn't believe that nearly every one of them thanked us.
I want to catch the news soon to get the details. All in all, I think it was a great event, with thousands of volunteers, cheering crowds, polite and friendly spectators, an unbelievable force of determined athletes, in a remarkable city along the shore of Lake Michigan. I hope the news doesn't mar my appreciation of this record-breaking marathon, a hot one for sure.

1 comment:

Louise Kahle said...

Congratulations, Livia!!