The Chicago Marathon was run on Sunday, October 10th, with 45,000 participants from all states and over 100 countries. The crowd estimate of supporters, friends, press and interested observers was at 1.7 million. [It was certainly evident from the amount of time it took to drive 2 blocks down Michigan Avenue, which was jammed as badly as Flamingo Avenue in Las Vegas.]
The view of the racers from my condo balcony, with Grant Park in the background, was amazing. The race kicked off at 8 a.m. on a day when high temperatures are normally 66 degrees but were in the 80’s, instead. It cost $135 for a United States resident to enter and $160 for a foreign competitor. If you can’t run a 15-minute mile, don’t even think about it. The course is only open for 6 and 1/2 hours, after which traffic is back on the roads and no one finishing after that time period is considered an official finisher.There are also no refunds for almost any reason whatsoever. I did a little bit of math, figuring what amount might be realized by having 30,000 USA competitors and 15,000 foreign runners. The take, if that were the make-up of the race: $6,450,000. Of course, it costs a lot to put on a race of this size, but six-and-a-half million would go a long way towards covering those expenses when volunteers primarily man the ropes and stations (not counting Chicago police.
Mixed with the view of the various stations that serviced the competitors and the runners, themselves, was the sound of ambulance sirens racing down Indiana Avenue. It was impossible to drive your car down Michigan or Roosevelt, and my building was like an island in the midst of runners.
The top male winner of the race was Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya, who ran the race in 2 hours 6 minutes and 24 seconds. The top female runner was Liliya Shobukohova of Russia, who finished the race in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
Top finishers from the United States were Jason Hartmann, who finished in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 06 seconds and Mike Sayenko, who finished in 10th place with a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 27 seconds. Top female finisher from the United States was Desiree Davila of Rochester Hills, New York, who finished in 4th place. Tera Moody of the United States was 10th with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes, 53 seconds.
The race started at 8:00 a.m. on an unseasonably warm day with temperatures in the 80s. On a previous marathon day this hot, an untimely death occurred and the marathon was canceled early, but no such tragedy befell the runners this year.