One of the most prestigious and much awaited races of the fall is the Chicago Marathon, scheduled this year for October 11. Thousands of runners ran on the city streets for the 38th edition of this event counted as one of the six World Marathon Majors. Thanks to its largely flat and fast course, the marathon has given several elite runners their best times and even a few world records. The limit of 45,000 registered entrants is usually reached as early as 6 months before race day, and the event is followed by 1.5 million spectators, making the streets of the Windy City crammed to capacity on Marathon Sunday. To mark the occasion, we bring you 5 fast facts from one of the world’s favorite running event.
The Chicago Marathon starts and finishes in Grant Park, with a course that runs 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods, and is a great scenic tour of diverse cultures, historic buildings and residences, renowned architecture, vibrant murals and the mouth-watering scents. Beginning downtown at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, the racers will travel en masse past beautiful Millennium Park, along State Street and the iconic Chicago Theatre and then set off through the city streets beyond, with only one slight incline in the final mile of the course on Roosevelt Rd. The course has produced four world records, several national records, and countless personal bests.
Over the past 30 years and more, the Chicago marathon has seen some nail-biting finishes. One such dramatic end was in 2006, when Robert K. Cheruiyot from Kenya slipped and fell just before the finish tape.
The athlete hit his head on the asphalt, but his fall threw him forward, allowing his timing chip to cross the finish line, just 5 seconds ahead of runner-up Daniel Njenga. Cheruiyot, who suffered a concussion, was discharged from the hospital a couple of days later.
Just a year later, the 2007 race made history again for having three of its four races decided in the final 100 meters in a day of record setting heat. The race was partially shut down early (after three and a half hours) as temperatures rose to an unseasonably hot 31°C, which surpassed both the temperature records for the Chicago Marathon and official Chicago records for October 7.Over 10,000 registrants chose not to run in the record temperatures, while 10,934 people did not finish (many were called after the course closed early for safety).
The grand scale of the Chicago marathon is evident when you consider the amount of planning and resources required to ensure that everything and everyone can run smoothly. The 2015 edition will feature 1,500 medical personnel on duty, and supplies that include 77,760 gallons of water, 12,000 adhesive bandages, 75,000 bananas and 400 trash bags among others!
World records have been broken at Chicago four times.
In 1984, Steve Jones broke the world record with 2:08:05, while in the next year, Khalid Khannouchi was the first to surpass 2:06:00 with 2:05:42. The women’s record was broken in two consecutive years. In 2001, Catherine Ndereba broke the record in 2:18:47, and Paula Radcliffe surpassed that mark with 2:17:18 the year after.
Radcliffe’s world record is also the course record; while the men’s record is 2:03:45, set in the 2013 race by Dennis Kimetto.