Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011 Spectator Report

A-L and I on the Red Line.
Chicago Marathon 2011 has come and gone. Congrats to all who finished the race today! I had a wonderful time as the "spectator director" with my family as we raced (pun intended) around town keeping tabs on my cousin's boyfriend, Jason.  (BTW, he ran the Twin Cities Marathon just SEVEN DAYS AGO!) Since I am the only Chicagoan in our group I was in charge of getting us to our cheer sites on time via the el. Believe it or not, I actually needed 3 separate maps to complete this task- a CTA downtown map, the race map with mile markers and the CTA "spectator map" that doesn't give enough detail about either the trains or the race course. Pfew!

We started the day at the start line. It's so inspirational to watch the mass of energetic, excited folks optimistically starting the race:) Jason is pretty fast so we didn't stick around too long- we needed run rush off to Mile 4! Jason looked great but my camera didn't cooperate so just picture a runner happily jogging along giving a cheerful hello to his favorite fans.

Next was Mile 10 and we got there in time to see the lead pack which was pretty cool. Moses had a great day! Spectating is kind of like the military...'hurry up and wait'. We'd rush to a spot worried that we might miss Jason, then we'd hang out and play 'Where's Waldo' for a bit, then we'd start to worry that we missed him, we look, we look, we see the pace teams go by, then the fabulous moment when we SEE him, we SEE him, do you see him?, there he IS! and it's all worth it:) So fun!

Spectators do all kinds of crazy things for their runners....

We provide mad-cowbell....

We provide a steady post to lean on for mid-race stretches...

And we act as on-the-fly pharmacists dispensing ibuprofen prn....

Finally, we carried balloons to ensure Jason could spot us. We found that it also helped us find each other....especially when certain members of the party needed to find a 'scarlet tanninger'.

Jason ended strong and was still smiling when we saw him at Mile 26. And, in total rock star fashion, he was totally up for photos after the race. He was even up for walking to the Bean for, what else, but more photos!


I'm thinking of starting a marathon spectator '50 in 50' organization. Us marathoners shouldn't be the only ones who do crazy things like run 50 marathons in 50 states. Turns out our spectators are pretty crazy too!

Again, congrats to all the Chi2011 finishers!!! :)

1 comment:

  1. Although I already knew it, it was concreted this year with all my injured spectating, SPECTATING IS A SPORT TOO! Sure we're not running the marathon but we're running our butts off to track you, make sure you're ok, sending out texts to family and friends, etc... Great job out there yesterday!!!! :)