Thursday, October 17, 2019

14 Things You'll See When Spectating a Marathon

Last Sunday, I spectated the Chicago Marathon with Marcia at in the Bloggers' Press Box at mile 13.5. Even if you're not a runner or you've never run a marathon, watching a marathon is an exciting experience! We were tracking a list of our running friends but only saw one. I actually got dizzy scanning the throngs of runners as they went by. We were there for 4 hours and saw every group of runners from the elites to the back of the packers.

There was a lot to take in! Even though we didn't see our runners, we still saw a lot! A marathon is so much more than just running.



Intensity
The elites were focused, eyes on the road ahead, not acknowledging cheers from the crowds.

Joy
Many of the runners in the middle of the pack were running with smiles on their faces, waving to spectators cheering them on.

Tears
We saw runners, walking with their heads down and tears streaming down their faces. Injury? Disappointment? Been there, done that.

Inspiration
The Achilles runners leading the disabled runners. Oh.my.heart.

Source

Chafing
One woman was walking sideways, alternating from side to side, trying not to let her thighs touch.

Limping
There were runners hobbling, stopping and starting, favoring one extremity. From our vantage point at mile 13.5, they had a long way to go to the finish line. Would they make it?

Costumes
Not as many as you'd think! Lots of superheroes. We also saw a king! And Forest Gump.

Run Forest, Run!

Cramping
Runners were stopping to stretch their calves on the curb. One actually laid down on the sidewalk to stretch out his legs. I heard comments from several runners that the cold wind was making them cramp up.

Misplaced runners
Participants wearing bibs that didn't match up with the runners around them. Corral K running up towards the front with the B corral runners? Corral C in the back of the pack? How does this happen?

Random objects
A banana tossed to the side of the road by a runner landed at our feet. Gel packs everywhere. Items of clothing littered the street.

Clothing
In spite of the chilly temperatures and strong wind, there were a lot of runners in tanks and shorts. Brrrr! I was dressed in my down coat with a hat and gloves.

Patriotism
The international runners wear the colors of their homeland with the name of their countries on their shirts.

source
Safety 
Homeland security officers walked behind us, guns strapped to their waists, while local police manned the intersections. Helicopters were buzzing overhead.

Support 
Family members on the sidelines, awaiting their runners. The runners spotting their loved ones, dashing over to the curb for hugs and then back on the course.

Renee did find us in the bloggers' press box!
The marathon is such an exciting and inspiring event! But did the experience of spectating the Chicago Marathon make me want to run another one? Such a tough question! Put it this way: would I like to run Chicago again? Yes. Could I run Chicago again? Probably not. At this point, I can't envision committing the time to the training nor the physical toll that it would take on my body. I'm content to spectate. I'll see you all next year!

Have you ever spectated a marathon? Tell me something you saw!


Spectating the Chicago Marathon gave me all the feels! /via @oldrunningmom @chimarathon #runchat #running #chicagomarathon

I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.






31 comments :

  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic time watching the marathon. It is fun to be on the other side sometimes and does give you another perspective. I have gotten used to the security everywhere and I guess that makes me feel safer. It does make me sad for those who are crying during the race. I love all the fun signs and cheers of crowds at big races. The funniest thing I saw in Vegas were the brides running in wedding dresses.

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    1. I can't imagine running in a wedding dress! It would be so heavy!

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  2. The last time (and I think the only time) I spectated a marathon was when Rob did the Cleveland Marathon a few years ago. It was fun being on the other side, but it did make me a little jealous too! I don't remember anything too unique about that race, probably because I spent 4 hours driving to different spots around the city!
    Glad you were able to get out there!

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    1. It was nice to just stay in one place. We saw a lot of people coming and going, including Renee!

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  3. Nice recap from the sidelines! How cool that there's a Bloggers' Press Box!

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  4. 4 hours? Wow! I think we were there for a little over 2 hours. Maybe a tad more. I have to say my back was kind of tight after that!

    No security for ours (small city race). All sorts of running clothes, to be sure. It was very rewarding to encourage runners who seemed to have given up -- we were about a quarter mile from the finish line -- then see them smile, and start running again.

    Seeing the motorcycles come through with the first finishers & then with the incredibly fast first finishers of the marathon was very exciting -- I've spectated the race before, but I think we got there later.

    Of course seeing our friends was a lot of fun, too.

    Thankfully ours was not that cold!

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    1. It was totally worth braving the cold. What an amazing experience!

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  5. Loved this recap!! As a slow runner, I'd always get emotional when the lead marathoner would be coming by me...the whoop whoop from the police motorcycle escort telling us to move to the side and then I'd turn and watch as they would come by me.

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    1. It's so exciting to see the intensity and the determination of the lead runners!

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  6. Thanks for the interesting recap. I spectated at one marathon - the men's Olympic Trials in 2007 in Central Park. It was great - they ran loops around the park so we got to see the runners several times. Ryan Hall won, the 2nd place guy (I forget his name) was way out in front, so the race was for the 3rd and final spot. I was cheering like crazy for the husband of a former student of mine and he did wind up getting 3rd! His name is Brian Sell. He got to run in the Olympics. It was fun and very exciting!

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  7. I am so glad that I decided to wear a tshirt rather than a tank. I was pretty chilly during the race. I have never spectated a marathon. I am usually the one running it. My sister said she enjoyed watching it one yr when I ran Disney. I bet it would be fun to watch as long as the weather is nice. My mom hated watching my Shamrock race since it was rainy and cold out.

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    1. It was so cold with that wind and I was surprised at how many runners were wearing tanks and shorts!

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  8. Ah I wish I had seen you two! I was definitely one of the limping, crying, cramping runners on Sunday. Already I am looking forward to cheering next year haha

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    1. You can join us on the sidelines next year! I wish we had seen you.

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  9. I'm hoping to hang out by the finish line for awhile on Sunday after I finish my half in DSM. It's always fun seeing all the runners coming in for the finish. I noticed the same thing about the elites and the faster runners (at Quad Cities, when I was waiting for my relay team's last runner in 2016)....they are so focused they don't seem to notice anything but the finish line ahead of them. But the "average" runners are smiling, high-5'ing, hugging, crying and totally taking in the experience.

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  10. Maybe The Tears Category Should Be Snot Category - Too Gross?? Too Early?? But Damn, Its True. And Maybe, Just Maybe Those Tears Weren't For Disappointment At All But For A Loss Or Anniversary?? We Shall Never Know. Also, How About All The Cyclist?? That Always Amazes Me. Cramps And Limping, Totally. Like Yikes!! Love The Costumes And Creativity In General. Go Team Human

    Thanx For Cheering Them On,
    Cheers

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    1. I just love your perspective! I think spectating a marathon, especially a big city marathon, is just about one the most inspiring things you can do.

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  11. I love this!! You were fortunate only a banana skin landed at your feet, we had an Unwell runner last year at London which I was kind of used to from officiating but freaked Emma out!

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  12. I spectated at the Nike Women's Half to cheer on my daughter in-law and her sister a few years ago. I found that it was hard to be on the sidelines. It's exhausting! I was cold, it rained on us, I got a migraine. It was quite the ordeal but still loved to see all the runners. I prefer to run but might be spectating at my next half. :-(

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    1. Spectating is definitely a challenge--it's a marathon of sorts, isn't it?

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  13. Love this! I have spectated and volunteered at Boston for years, but I have to say now that I've been on the other side I'm sure I'll have a whole new respect for what I see out there!

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    1. That's exactly how I felt when we were watching. We knew exactly what those runners were feeling!

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  14. Such a fun look at this.

    As far as C at the back of the back -- maybe someone having a bad day or had a bad training cycle? I know at least for NYC corrals determined based on a time in February, if not earlier and lots can change. Or maybe s/he dropped back to run with a friend? FOr the back of the pack in front, maybe his/her time was based on an old race and not reflective of current ability?

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    1. He wouldn't have had a K bib with a fast race time. Me thinks he lined up way ahead of where he should have been. You know that happens....

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    2. It's one of my pet peeves with the FLL races as they don't enforce seeding. It's a giant mass start
      I misread you. I was thinking he had a slow qualifying time but then trained better or was healthy. Fail on me

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  15. Some day I want to spectate the marathon. If anything, it would probably be easier for me to spectate the Chicago marathon than run it (just take the train in!).

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    1. If you ever want to, let me know! I'd love your perspective!

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