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Chicago Marathon Tips and the BRF Gathering

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:13pm

Wrapping up matters in the office today and packing my bag tonight for Chicago, I’m getting super excited and nervous for the marathon on Sunday.

Cml A couple closing random thoughts:

  • Arrive early to Grant Park.  After 7:15 you're in a bind for port-a-potties, checking gear, clearing your mind, lining up, etc.
  • Bring your own TP to Grant Park.
  • Wear your name on your shirt or singlet.  Using a Sharpie, write it in block letters on the blank side of an old tyvek race bib.  You’ll have tens of thousands of spectators yell your name and cheer for you.  Note: don’t use the shortened version if your formal name is Richard.
  • First mile:  I f you think you’re going the right pace, you’re actually going too fast! If you thing you’re running slow, you’re probably running the right pace.
  • Don’t let the congestion wear you down in the early miles.   If you’re feeling a bit boxed in or behind pace after five miles, you still have 21 miles to make it up!
  • Take in the ethnic neighborhoods.  They are the fabric of the course.  There are so many thrilling experiences at the Chicago Marathon.
  • The re-unite area has alphabetical signs for you where your family can gather to wait for you after the race.  Use them according to your last name.  They work.   Don’t plan to outsmart everyone else by use the letter X or Z signs because you think it won’t be crowded.  Everyone else tries that too.
  • There will be about 100,000 people at the finish area for several hours. Be patient.
  • If you start to get weak legs on Friday or Saturday and wondering what the hell you’ve gotten into, you’re in good company.
  • Find a way to convey to that special person—spouse, family member, friend, etc. how grateful you are for their support.  Don't buy the Chicago Marathon commemorative Christmas Ornament for sale at the expo for someone else to remember your marathon.    A Polish tradition is on marathon day the men present their wives and girlfriends with flowers before the race.  Hope my wife isn’t reading this post.
  • The DVD they sell with stock race footage plus customized footage of you running at half a dozen points on the course is a very good quality and great way to remember the event.   I wouldn't miss it.
  • I’m biased, but I think Chicago is the most wonderful of the large marathons.  It’s a great host city.  F eed off the city’s October beauty, the marathon’s great organization, the tremendous crowd of spectators, and the celebration of the greatness of running.
  • Contact me if you need tips for your family and friends to find you along the course.  My number is below.
  • If you have additional advice for marathoners, spectators, or anyone, please chime in!

Attention Bloggers Running the Chicago Marathon!

I want to put out one last reminder inviting any and all BRFS—Blogging Running Friends who are running the Chicago Marathon to join us for our gathering on Friday.  Below are the details:

Kroll’s South Loop
4:00-ish to 7:00-ish
1736 S. Michigan
Tom’s cell 515-229-6072

We will meet on Friday at, which is only 5 blocks north of the Expo hall, McCormick Place.  Thanks to Colleen at Runningcuckoo, she has confirmed it is a good place for a drink or a bite to eat, etc. 

The restaurant is reserving space for us beginning at 4:00 through 7:00ish.  They would like to have at least six of us there before seating us at 4:00 and we’re hopeful a few more will be along later.

We’ll keep the plan loose with the understanding it’s come-and-go format to drop by and stay as long as you care to.  The wide range of time can accommodate those who might want to join us before or after they go to the Expo, plus it kind of gives us a reason to not fight the rush hour traffic.

We want everyone to feel welcome, so if you know of other BRFs who are running Chicago, please pass this information along to others.

Spouses,family, friends are all welcome!

Bring your cameras!

Good luck during the last few days.  Safe travels to everyone and let me know if you have any questions.


Marathon logo on Flickr by Thomas Sly

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