Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heading to the Windy City

I had said in 2007 that I would never return to the Chicago Marathon.  The 2007 running was one of the most controversial days in its history.  The temperature was 73 degrees at the 8 AM start, and soared to 88 degrees by noon.  High temperatures, 86% humidity, and overloaded aid stations running out of water caused race organizers to call off the event after about 4 hours (runners were diverted back to the starting area).  A 35 year old male runner collapsed and died, over 300 runners were treated for heat related maladies, and about 50 were hospitalized.  Since the 2006 disaster, the event has instituted a color-coded Event Alert System (EAS) to communicate the status of course conditions to participants leading up to and on race day.  The levels range from Low (green) to Moderate (yellow) to High (red) to Extreme (black), based primarily on the weather, as well as other conditions.  On race-day, the current EAS status will be communicated via public address announcements and color-coded signs/flags at the start and finish areas, and along the course at each of the 20 aid stations locations, and via large digital traffic message boards.

Never say never.

I'm heading back with some friends for another go at it.  The good news is that initial weather forecasts call for temperatures to be in the 30s and 40s, with the possibility of rain - similar to the condition in the 2006 event where I ran a 3:43:48.  Two weeks removed from the Vermont 50 mud-fest, I'm not sure how things will go in Chicago, but I'll give it a go nonetheless.


  1. don't blow away!! have a great trip :)

  2. I'm glad organizers have learned from that disaster, and that runners also now realize they need to be more prepared - just in case race officials aren't. Good luck this weekend.

  3. Have fun in Chicago!

    I ran the marathon in 2007 as well (DNF), and I thought I'd be bitter about it for forever, but now I'm thinking that some day, revenge might be better instead of total avoidance.