Yesterday, we went to Chinatown to watch the Chicago Marathon. Since neither TBWITWW nor I have any particular interest in running, we thought it'd be a fairly quick trip to take some pictures, and then we'd explore Chinatown for a while and head home. It turns out that marathons are amazingly fun to watch. The spectators, for the most part, are excited and non-partisan. Many of the runners have their names displayed, and the spectators would encourage them by name as they went by. While the experienced runners were fun to watch it was the people who were there to fulfill personal goals or to help others that were the most inspiring. The people running for Team in Training or the Aids Marathon, or any of the other charities were amazing. There was a woman who ran by carrying a sign that said "New Year's Resolution" with a big check mark. There was a guy who ran along encouraging the spectators to keep cheering for the runners still to come.
Also, there were little things that added to the day and made me smile. The smile that burst across a tired face as a runner spotted the people in the crowd who were cheering for them. The man who dragged out a hose from his house and set up a cooling spray for the runners. (Later, he rigged it to a folding chair and a pole to help keep it going.) There was a woman who was a coach or trainer for one of the charity groups who kept coming back and forth and encouraging the runners. Then there were the costumes. Running 26.2 miles in running clothes seems crazy enough, but there were people who ran by dressed as Batman, Wonder Woman, a viking, Napoleon, or a hula dancer.
We'll be back next year.