Chicago Marathon: I'm Hoarse from the Course

There's a warm cup of throat comfort tea by my keyboard this evening, after spending two hours cheering on the Chicago Marathon.

I knew two runners and had offered to position myself at a place appropriate for encouragement. We found an empty stretch of road, a highway overpass where my clanging cowbell would not bother too many people in their homes and my friend could hand out the donut holes she'd brought for tired runners.

A cop working the marathon passed us twice before stopping to ask, "Are you guys actually cheering anyone particular on?" since we arrived early and there was about an hour gap between our runners.

I had only ever seen the Columbus Marathon before, and not surprisingly the Chicago race is far bigger, with a constant surge of runners coming towards us. It gave us tingles to see the runners earlier in the race going at a fast clip on the highway overpass above us as we drove down. The two runners I was cheering for were spotted, and one even stopped for a quick hug of encouragement, until I told her, "Don't stop running for me! Keep going!!"

The fun part is that many runners write or tape their names on their jerseys, so you can cheer for them specifically. So I went hoarse calling out, "GO Steph! We love you Steph!" "TODD! Stay strong, Todd!" "Yay Pedro!!" "Not too much further, Amy!" "You rock, Dennis!" and of course, there was jumping up and down whenever a Claire or an Ohio State t-shirt went by. I did find myself yelling "Go Michigan!" a few more times than felt comfortable, with the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry that I married into. Cheering with a Wisconsin grad, we were also excited to holler, "Go Badgers!" whenever it was appropriate.

Afterwards we strolled into Chicago's Chinatown to scout out dim sum for lunch. (And more hot tea because of the cheering, and the temperature which started out pretty chilly.)

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