For all you who are running have fun and enjoy the city! I haven't run NY or Boston or another big race but my experience at Chicago was like no other. It is the only marathon I haven't needed my ipod because I was so entertained the entire time. Here are some of my tips:
- If you have people there to see you be sure to plan where they will be AND what side of the street. Trust me on this there are too many people to keep scanning back and forth. Or have them hold an obnoxiously large sign or balloons on a stick to easily see them ;)
- Line up sooner than later. Otherwise you are going to have to jump barricades into an already overstuffed start line.
- Don't freak out when your garmin goes haywire the first mile because it will and it will continue throughout downtown. You start off by runningunder Wacker/through a tunnel and are in a big city.
- Take in the deafening roar of some of the 500,000 spectators when you start but don't get overly excited and lose your race by playing dodge 'em.
- Be sure to look all around and up. People, camera's, buildings, different neighborhoods, crazy dressed up runners, inspirational runners, stuff to see will be all around you!
- As you turn into Boystown (mile 7-9) enjoy the boy cheerleaders. They pretty much rock.
- If you are a middle to back of the packer expect a full race...the.entire.race. At mile 21 heading into Chinatown I felt like I was still tripping over people.
- Mile 24-25 is the quietest (and most spread out) section of the race. Though the people who are out there do their best to make up for it.
- Wear your name on your shirt.
- You end up on an uphill. All Chicago races do. It sucks but let the massive crowd and seeing yourself on the big screen carry you through until you turn to your left and can see that finish line.
- If meeting people afterwards meet them in the designated area and stand by your letter. Everyone tries to be tricky and stand by the XYZ thinking no one else has thought of this.
- HAVE FUN!
If you need a suggestion on where to go pre or post race let me know! I love to give people some ideas about this lovely city!