Tue, 09 Oct 2007

Chicago Marathon 2007

Last Sunday, the 30th Chicago Marathon took place. This was meant to be the year to make this marathon even bigger: the field had increased substantially to 45,000 registrations yet it still sold out way earlier than in previous years.

As it turns out, the weather did have its own surprises in store. Earlier in the preceding week, the forecast changed from overcast and rainy to sunny. And sunny it was. While we had a bit of cloud cover at the start at 8:00am, temperatures were already in the 70s and keep increasing. This year's marathon is now on the books as the hottest ever: the clouds dissipated and it was a scorcher.

Needless to say, it was a rather challenging race. I finished in 3:41:39, which is my slowest time by some margin for the by now seven marathons I've ran. It was not the day for running fast. Of course, I didn't quite grok that at the start and ran ten miles reasonably hard in a quick pace, but then paid for it, and then paid some more. That said, apparently around 10,000 registered entrants didn't even start, and another 10,000 did not make it to the finish. With the heat, several hundred were treated by the medical teams. Worse still, one 35-year old runner from Michigan died (though the autopsy claims he had a heart condition; other reports say that alone cannot have been lethal). The race itself was aborted, and those who had not reached the half-way point by 12:00am were diverted to the finish and urged to walk rather than run.

According to the (by now fairly extensive) news coverage, this whole experience left quite a few people mad and bewildered. As of today, a good 48 hours after the race, the City seems to be in some sort of crisis management mode to prevent damage for the oh-so-important bid for the 2016 Olympics.

For some flavour of the news coverage, see an early report, some stunning pictures and some suggestions to prevent another one like this, all from the Chicagoist blog.

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