"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."

-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

martedì 11 ottobre 2011

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

I have just returned from participating in the 35th edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Chicago, along with New York, Boston, London and Berlin, is one of five World Marathon Majors, is known for its fast and flat course across the typical districts the city (Old Town, Little Italy, China Town and The Gap) and it's one of the biggest running events in the world (45,000 participants).

Start and finish are located in Grant Park, the beautiful park which offers huge spaces for all pre-and post-race activities (baggage storage, medical tent, aid stations, assigned corralls, port-a-potty's, hospitality tents ...).
The race started at 7:30 with a temperature in the mid 60's and running through a wall of spectators and fans was a great experience (nothing to envy to the NYC Marathon).
Towards the thirtieth kilometer we left the shadow of tall buildings and we start running on wide and sunny streets, the temperature had risen to the 70's by then.
However, the excellent organization and the dedication and support of volunteers was outstanding ... the best I ever experienced.

For the record, Moses Mosop set a course record in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds, and Liliya Shobukhova became the first runner to win a third straight title, taking the women's race in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 20 seconds. Second place among men finished Wesley Korir in 2h06'15 ", and third Bernard Kiprop Kipyego in 2h06'29". In the women Ejegayehu Dibaba was runner-up in her debut marathon (2h22'09"), and Kayoko Fukushi was third (2h24'38").

About my race, the plan was to run at 6:00 min/mile pace, I wanted to lower my PR and I felt in perfect shape for it. I ran relaxed and easy till halfway mark, I started to suffer from the heat around mile 19 and the pace dropped dramatically. I thought I could do better than that but I'm glad to have closed sub 2 hours and 40 (1 minute better than last year NYC Marathon and the 2009's MCM).

Anyhow I had an amazing weekend, and so far I consider the Chicago Marathon the best marathon you could race ... I will recommend it to everyone!

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