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The Runner's World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training: Winning Strategies, Inpiring Stories, and the Ultimate Training Tools
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Chicago Marathon Proves Spirit Lives On
The Chicago Marathon was my favorite event in the city. And then Boston happened. Would it ever be the same?
The Chicago Marathon is the first major marathon since Boston.
Without any plans, though, I found myself awake in the early-morning hours. And still awake half-an-hour later. Was this really going to be the first marathon I've missed since I can remember? No, I decided, it wasn't.
The street was not empty, though the spectators were sparse, but they always are that early. Would it feel like the marathon? The marathon is this golden moment where you are either runner or cheerer, person committing an amazing athletic feat or witness. Had Boston corroded that?
In a blaze of sunlight, the top wheelchair racers appeared, and suddenly, here it was, the Chicago Marathon. And it felt exactly the same. Strangers struck up conversations along the route, cowbells clanged, children held plastic applauding hands excited for the day.
People milled along, and suddenly the sidewalk filled, erupting as groups of wheelchair racers came by. And then the elites materialized, running as though there was nothing in the world but the next step, the music blaring, and it was perfect.
Runners kissed their babies, held tight on the sidelines. Little kids, kindergartners by the look of them, lined up, holding signs for their teacher, who not only saw them, she paused long enough to give each one a hug,
The enthusiasm was no different than it had ever been. Some runners wore ridiculous costumes. One ran holding the American flag high and proud, his pace apparently not slowed by his symbol. Others wore shirts in tribute to Boston.
It was all there, the energy, that feeling of unity. I couldn't have missed it, in a way it is a social contract where people train and train and train with the unsaid promise that others will be there to see what they've accomplished, to keep up their spirits, to help them to keep going.
Boston didn't kill the spirit of the marathon. It only showed us how strong that spirit really is.