I was thrilled to be able to go to Chicago with my friends Ginger and Lora for their first marathon! I had followed their weeks/months of training and knew how hard they had prepared for the big event.
Lots of photos ahead!
We drove up to Chicago on Saturday and attended the Expo where the girls picked up their running packets.
This movie showed runners the route they'd be running. It was fun to watch the route going through all the "little" neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy.
The next morning when the runners were walking to the event the Alert Level was Yellow since it was dark out.
Another map showing parts of town the runners would be going through.
After the Expo we had dinner in Old Town on the garden patio at Orso's. Yummy risotto and pasta!
On my way to the get a good spot at Mile 2 or 3 I saw lots of people walking with their signs. I loved that! People along the course were so motivating. People passing out beer, water, candy, yeast rolls(!) from their homes along the race. Families with supportive t-shirts for their runners, signs, balloons. Lots of cowbells. It was really fun to be a part of.
I didn't have a plan for my few hours in Chicago while the girls were running. I thought about spending an hour here at my favorite Chicago museum (The Art Institute of Chicago), but decided to see as much of the race as I could instead.
When the race started, the first group through were those who were physically challenged. They were AWESOME! It was really inspiring to see.
Then here came the Kenyans. Everyone was cheering.
I don't know how many runners there were. I heard everything from 45,000 - 51,000 - that's more people than are in our town! We know that 36,000 finished.
In these photos I'm at Mile Marker 3 (more or less).
Batman and Batgirl
Man with the flag
It was such a hot day - can't beleive this guy could run in this costume the entire race. (Or was it a REAL polar bear?)
I knew Brennan would love the Banana Guy
Loved this lady's sign - Release Your Inner Kenyan
Thing1 and Thing2
I was so proud of this couple!
Here I am at Mile 15. It was soooo hot for the runners at this point.
Hot but beautiful day in Chicago
And they finished!!! I was so proud of Ginger and Lora!
Here's Ginger after the race!
And Ginger with her cousins Brad, Peggy, and Ryan who came in to the city to see her finish!
Love this fountain in Grant Park at the Finish Line - always reminds me of the opening to "Married with Children" (the tv show).
They did it! I was so proud!