This morning, the 29th LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon saw 40,000 amateur athletes and weekend warriors, undeterred by cold, blustery weather, attempted something quite remarkable: the feat of running 26.2 miles. The news reports will likely focus on the elite runners (Robert Cheruiyot, winner of this year's Boston Marathon, held off fellow Kenyan Daniel Njenga to win in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 35 seconds while Ethiopia's Berhane Adere won the women's race in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 42 seconds for her first marathon victory, followed by Russia's Galina Bogomolova and Romania's Constantina Tomescu-Dita, who led the first 21 miles).
But for me, the real drama of the race takes place long after the elite runners have concluded their press conferences and returned to the comfort of their hotels, as moms and dads and next door neighbors, aunts and uncles and home room teachers, friends and acquaintances and cancer survivors do the inconceivable. Today they finally did it. They finished--having dedicated themselves to this over the long haul by investing untold hours of training over the course of the previous several months.
They are the ones who inspire me. They encourage me. They push me onward with their courage and tenacity. They are the real heroes today.
Oh yeah, and Dean Karnazes was there in the Windy City too. He ran his 36th marathon in 36 days. And he did it with a sub-3:30 time. Wow.