Strangers With Candy

Texas and Louisiana Watch the Chicago Marathon.

Before my first half marathon I was told to take everything on the course that was offered to me. In that spirit, my usual partner in crime Mary, and I headed out to the 14.5 mile mark of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with 9lbs of Twizzlers and gummy bears.

We also had mimosas and signs with glitter on them.

My race weekend started Friday afternoon when I picked up my dear friend Paul at Midway. A seasoned runner, the Chicago Marathon would be Paul’s second full. That night we hung out close to home before heading to Mary’s Saturday morning.

photo 1After dropping off race supplies, Paul and I went to Bub City for brunch. I had the brisket benedict. It was pure perfection. They also have a drink with Jack Daniels, Sweet Tea vodka and lemonade that I really can’t pass up. Paul had the bacon Mac and Cheese.

With our stomachs full, we were off to McCormack Place for the race expo. Pretty standard stuff. A lot of other races with sign up deals. The usual retailers and products were in attendance handing out samples.

photo 3At the expo, I found inspiration for my upcoming half marathon. I also inquired about keeping this medal since I’m seriously undertrained for Disney’s Wine and Dine Half on November 8. The runDisney representative assured me that the race was more about the party and that I’d be fine.

That night, I joined Paul in carb loading before returning to Mary’s so Paul could prep for the race and get to bed early.

Sunday morning, Paul headed to the race via CTA while Mary and I headed to the corner of Adams and Paulina in the West Loop. This is roughly the 14.5 mile mark. Arriving just before 9am, we missed the super elite runners but still managed to see plenty of the A corral. These folks are fast and determined.

IMG_2899A little comment on spectator etiquette.  Folks, get out of the road and off the course. This was the scene at the Paulina/Adams intersection. People, and Divvy bikes, were at times 10-15 feet onto Adams instead of staying on the curb. In MANY cases runners were forced to maneuver around spectators. It was disappointing to see. Course marshals and the police at the intersection didn’t seem overly concerned however as a runner, it was a clear hazard.

Paul passed us, right on pace, a little before 10:30am. After stopping for a few pictures and a handful of gummy bears, he was back on his way. His official finish time clocked in at 4:55.

photo 1Prior to this point, not many people had taken us up on our candy offer. I assured Mary that we were now getting into “my people,” the slower runners who weren’t overly concerned with PRs and while they wanted to do well, finishing upright and uninjured was a higher priority.  Sure enough as the 14 min mile pace group came though people started wanting candy. Very grateful runners wanted candy! The rope Twizzlers were easy to pass out and went pretty quickly. Once we moved to cups of Twizzler bites and gummy bears it was a little harder to distribute. After many people asked for water, we took turns with one of us “advertising” what we had and the other handing out cups. We ran out of candy just as the end vehicles passed our 2

My favorite part of the day came at the very end when an officer in one of the police vehicles asked me how Mary determined that runners were 55.34% done with the race. My only reply was “math.” That sign got a lot of attention throughout the day. Many people were pleased with their progress, however there were definitely a few who asked “that’s it?” See you next year, Chicago.


Visit Paul’s blog at Running to the Gate.



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