I returned this weekend to find my personal Chicago Marathon Participant Guide sitting on my desk. It looks like this.
Everyone that registers for the marathon gets one of these as it is the only way to verify your registration on the packet pickup days. The first pages all look alike….But upon turning to the 3rd and 4th page, only a relatively small number have this. Kinda feels like I found the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar….except there are hundreds of golden tickets. Still. This Top 100 start corral signifies that I’ve run under the Top 100 qualifying time (less than 1:11) in a 1/2 marathon the year prior. Among a number of other amenities it also means we are corralled directly behind the elite runners on the start line. The little red box is us.Following the little red box is Seeded start A, B, and C. The rest of the street after is filled with 10’s of thousands of other runners. The guide is to direct you regarding a number of matters, one of the most ominous being the warning system that was disasterously put into effect a couple years back when the temps soared into the upper 80’s and aid stations ran out of water. The race was cancelled over half-way in. Let’s hope these warnings are a mere formality this year.Just in case you plan on being in Chicago in a few weeks, here is an obviously uselessly rendered map for your perusal. Come find me somewhere between mile 18 and 25 and scream your head off in my general direction as I will most likely need the added encouragement.In case you can’t spot the Vegan Dandies logo moving down the road…here’s my bib number.Finally, if you can’t make it to Chicago, but want to follow the action on-line, you can check out specific mile splits at chicagomarathon.comSo there you go. Your introduction to the Chicago Marathon photo essay. See you on the streets in three weeks.