Friday, October 18, 2013

Chicago Marathon, 2013

On October 13, my little brother ran his 3rd marathon in Chicago...  of course I had to make the trip out to see the race.  Chicago was unlike either of Travis's previous marathons - Detroit and Washington, DC.  Besides the obvious location difference, the marathon had a different energy, more participants, a larger crowd, and more security since it was the first major marathon after the Boston earlier this year.
Sun rising over the buildings early Sunday morning.
Supporting Travis for this race was also different; Travis had arrived a couple of days before the race while I arrived a few hours before the race.  Because of the enormous amount of participants, over 40,000 total, the race start and finish were completely closed off to spectators before and during the race.  Even though I had made it down to the race start plenty before gun, there was no way to find him in the sea of people and still give him plenty of time to warm up and get to Coral 1. 

Entrance for Gate #1 - racers only.
This is as close as I got and was able to speak to a "race expert" who helped me review my map and gave me tips on where would be the best places to see the race.

"Remember, you paid to do this!!"
All along the 26.2 miles of the race were people!  There wasn't a span more than 20 feet that didn't have a person, family, a band, a water stand, or a guy on a microphone cheering.  Besides feeling the amazing energy throughout the race, the creative signs that people made for the race were my favorite.

At 7:30am sharp, the race started and it was only a matter of minutes before the first wave of wheel chair participants came rolling through the streets.  The spectators went wild and I overheard so many people say, "what an inspiration!" 

My brother Travis was in the 3rd wave of elite runners that went by.  He's the blur wearing black and red with the fire rend hair and beard.... if you can spot him :)

All through the race, sponsors handed out cowbells and thunder sticks for noise makers and a few charismatic kids had these amazing horns that you could hear bellowing for blocks!

Part of my path went right past the Sears Tower :)

Sun rising over the canal while rowers practice in the water.

"Run Faster - the game starts at noon!" I love how the guy who made the sign looks unimpressed :) 

My next stop to see Travis was at mile 13.5. I got there in time to see the 1st pack of elite runners go by - a group of amazingly fast runners, most of them from Africa.  I never saw them again during the race. The race winner ran the marathon is under 2 hours and 4 minutes.... almost a world record time!!

Here comes Travis! At the half-marathon mark, Travis was faster than his previous pace times by quite a few minutes.  He had found a small pack and was sticking close to them.  Hand off for goo was successful!

Mile 17 was my next stop in a more residential area but still full of spectators.  It was fun watching other people like myself go from spot to spot to cheer on their elite runners :)

Beast Mode!
Photographing Travis is always a crap shoot!  In my left hand, I have my phone and am attempting to take pictures with my thumb popping out of my mittens.  In my right hand, I have his goo and am preparing to pass it along to him as smoothly as possible.  And as he is running towards me, I wave my hands wildly over my head screaming his name so that he will see me.... all the while trying to snap pictures and hand him his stuff :)  Most pictures are a blur, but every now and then I'll snap a really good one! 

On my way to mile 25 - I saw the best view of Chicago's skyline from the train yard.

Mile 25 was the last time I got to see Travis before the race end.  Luckily, the race's Text Message Updates were actually working and I got a notification when he crossed the finish line.

My dad made me wake up early to see you walk? RUUUUNN!!!
This may have been my favorite sign of the day!

I also loved this one!

This guy was cool too supporting all of the elite runners trying to make their Boston qualification times.

Because spectators weren't allowed right at the finish line, a few tenths of a mile back, they had a giant screen showing the finish line. This area was jam packed with people, cow bells, and signs!

I finally met up with Travis and was able to give him a big hug :)  Travis finished the race 77th in a time of 2:30:15!!! 

So proud of you, Travis!! Going to your marathons is one of my all-time favorite things to do! They are so inspiring and I love spending these days laughing, crying, screaming, attempting to run, and supporting my baby brother!


  1. Biggest sister is always SO proud of him!! =) I get so emotional every race day! Greg & I have decided we WILL be at the next one...when and wherever that may be!

  2. This is so cooll!! I love your posts about his marathons. What an adventure for both of you! I wonder how often he has to buy new running shoes? He must smoke through those bad boys.

  3. Travis says OTTAWA 2014!! It's in May! We are totally going =)

  4. When Travis started running I thought it would be a cheap sport. Boy was I wrong. Shoes last for about 300 miles and with as much as Trav runs, they last about 4 weeks. Luckily he runs for Playmakers ( a local sports store) now and they provide his shoes!