The 30th La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon Cancelled.
Who would believe it, with months of training behind me, a seven and a half hour flight, jet lag and thankfully injury free that the 30th La Salle Bank Chicago marathon would be called off.
But Chad Schiber, a 35 year old police officer from Michigan had collapsed and died and hundreds were been hospitalised for heat related illnesses. The race was stopped about three and a half hours after the start gun. It was an abnormally sweltering autumn day, temperatures reached 35 degrees centigrade with very high humidity.
My own experience was that it was going to be a fight to finish. My rough plan was to 9.3 minute mie for 20 miles and see how I felt then. But I knew at 8 miles that this was going to be one of my toughest marathons yet. At 8 miles I decided to get to the next water station and when I got to that one the goal was to get to the one after that. This is how I survived the race.
I have been in races before where things might not be going to plan and I would readjust my finishing time but in Chicago I felt like throwing my watch (but I could not do that because it was a 40th brithday present from my husband). I was at 22 miles when the news reached me that the race had been cancelled. Police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics repeated through speakers "attention runners, the marathon has been cancelled. You can stop running now, please walk to the finish." What were they mad, I only had four miles to go. Running became to difficult now as thousand of runners in front of me were walking. But I was one of the luckly ones who was far enough along the route that the only way back for me was to finish the course. Runners who had not reached the half way point were diverted back to the start at Grant Park, while runners who got to 19 miles were taken a short cut back .
Of 35,867 runners who started the race just 24,933 finished. Thankfully that included me. Of the 8 marathons I have completed this one is the most memorable. I will still be talking about the chaotic scenes of runners throwing up, passing out or been carried away on stretchers, in 20 years time.