Saturday, October 8, 2011

Just Your Average Chicago Marathon Runner

A few weeks ago I was assigned to track down a handful of local runners who'd be toeing the line at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for Time Out Chicago and share their stories. Let's just say they were more than inspirational. Aside from being unable to find a costumed runner (if one of you is out there, please give a shout in the comments!), it turned into a very eclectic group. From first-timers to seasoned vets. From the joggler to the charity runners. From the Olympic hopefuls to the four Team World Vision runners who're turning race weekend into a 100-miler challenge (believe it or not, the 26.2-mile marathon is the final leg of their journey). You can read about theses runners at The Rundown, but keep reading for a few more motivational stories from those who'll be racing on October 9.
Gen Levy

The marathon is a goal that Gen Levy couldn’t renege. “Naturally, the first thing a non-runner would think of would be to sign up for the Chicago Marathon, right?” the 32-year-old says. The first time marathoner can’t wait to cross the finish line as part of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team and is running the final 1.2 miles in memory of her step-mother. But she just hopes race day goes more smoothly than October 2’s dress rehearsal. “I realized as I was about to cross the start line at the Bucktown 5K that I had put my running capris on inside-out while getting ready in the dark,” she says. Oops.

But hey, we’re only human. Certainly another runner can own up to a goof like that. Right?

Bound for Boston
Chanthana Tsai
You don’t need to ask Chanthana Tsai if she’s ready to run. “I run because I like to push my body to its limits,” she says. “I really enjoy setting goals and watching the progress.” This Gold Coaster is more than prepared for her fourth run on the Chicago course—“I love this race!” she says. “It's so well-supported and I enjoy training for it in the summer.”—and she’s gunning for another Boston-qualifying time to boot. In fact, her goal time is Post-It noted to her fridge, on marathon stationary no less.

I have to confess, I wanted to share Will English's story before he toes the line for his first Chicago Marathon, but between my final carbo-load, organizing my race things (and spending too much time tinkering with my old Garmin), following the Ironman World Championship updates, and needing to get to bed, it's unfortunately going to have to wait for post-race. But in the meantime, you can follow his trail to the start line in part one, part two and part three.

Now it's off to bed. Signing off until after the 34th Bank of America Chicago Marathon is in the books.

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