Oct 7, 2007

Problems and Pride in Chicago...

Mary Ann's daughter and my stepdaughter, Tori Glade, completed the Chicago Marathon today. What an accomplishment!

This is not Tori's first marathon and I expect it won't be her last. She is incredibly self-disciplined and is an inspiration. Both Mary Ann and I are very proud of her.

It was a difficult race because of the heat and humidity. According to the International Herald-Tribune, "It was the hottest Chicago Marathon ever, with temperatures reaching 31.1 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit)."

Many of the world-class runners had difficulty and the officials took the unusual step of closing the last half of the route for participants who had not reached it by a certain time.

(From the Web site) Due to the rising heat index and higher than expected temperatures, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski and Medical Director Dr. George Chiampas, in cooperation with city officials, have implemented a contingency plan, as a precautionary measure, to effectively close the Marathon course at the halfway point. Runners who have not reached the halfway point by approximately 12:00 p.m. will be diverted back to Grant Park via Halsted and Jackson. Jackson will be closed to automobile traffic and the participants will be provided with additional support along this route. Participants who crossed the halfway point prior to the shut-down will continue to be fully supported along the standard course to the finish line. Participants are asked to take advantage of medical personnel, cooling buses, runner drop out buses, water, Gatorade and other means of support en route back to Grant Park.

According to some of the Forum entries I've read, some of the aid stations ran out of water and Gatorade. I can't imagine what a desperate situation that would cause. As one Forum contributor stated, "No one could anticipate temperatures 20 degrees above normal. Of the 45 000 signed up for the race, 10,000 had the wisdom not to start. Those who started SHOULD have been experienced racers who have dealt with heat and humidity and also know how to pace themselves. The race was CALLED at mile 13 when too many ambulances were busy with people down ... and race officials certainly did everything they possibly could to ensure the racers' safety."

Given the circumstances, we're even more proud than you can imagine. Congratulations Tori!

As amazed as I am at the discipline and athleticism of the participants - all 45,000 of them - I'm equally amazed at some of the technology that came into play. The runners are tracked individually as they pass certain checkpoints. Mary Ann and I were able to register to receive emails and text messages that permitted us to follow Tori's progress. Is that magic or what?!?! Furthermore, we were able to follow live coverage of the entire event on Internet streaming video!

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