I want to start off by saying, “I did it!”
The event takes place every year in Chicago on the second weekend of October. About 45,000 people compete in the event and an estimated 1.9 million spectators are there to cheer on the participants. The event is planned months in advance and requires a lot of the cities resources to keep the event safe and functional.
What I liked most about the Chicago marathon was the overall planning and communication by the event organizers. Despite the trouble of initially registering to pay for the event, everything else after that was great. The official website provided competitors of the Chicago marathon with a countdown to the event, contact information, map of the course, race information for competitors.
A few weeks before the event, coordinators of the Chicago marathon sent the race packet with pickup information. The coordinators also sent weekly reminders with updates to the event and provided safety measures for when of an emergency situation.
When I arrived at the expo center to pick up my race number, the expo was filled with vendors. The Chicago marathon coordinators had information booths to help out contestants with race information and where in the expo to pick up their race t-shirts and numbers. The expo had shuttle buses to take participants of the to metro stations. The expo was filled with lots of activities such as a running shoes showcases, cars, food, and expert advice on running.
The day of the event was smooth and well-coordinated. There were several security checkpoints, photographers, places to warm up and stretch, and areas to check in your clothes. The race was broken down into two waves. The first wave went off at 7:30am and the second wave went off at 8:00am. I was part of the second wave. One thing I didn’t like was the clock throughout each mileage. They displayed the times from the first wave and it was difficult to tell your pace as a second wave runner.
The event was filled with spectators cheering you at each mile; parts of the race were sectioned off so spectators couldn’t cross the street while you were racing. About thirty minutes within the race the first and second wave runners cross paths and that made it difficult to navigate through the runners. Every time I felt I needed a surge of energy the crowd was always there to lift me up. The energy from the spectators of the Chicago marathon was amazing. The music throughout each zone was uplifting and was very much appreciated. Some posters were definitely unique and some of the most creative pieces of work that I’ve ever seen.
Although I didn’t reach my goal of breaking three hours, I felt accomplished. My first experience with the Chicago marathon was a success. The people of Chicago were great. The metal and the post race events added to the experience. I plan on running it again in the near future.