Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Chicago Marathon Review

Feeling  strong at mile 10 running through
Old Town in the 2013 Chicago Marathon (from MarathonFoto)
Total Experience ... 1 2 3 4 5
36th Annual Chicago Marathon
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Chicago, IL
26th Marathon Completed
Runners: 39,122
Start Time: 7:30 am
Course: Probably the flattest and fastest course I've ran
Weather: Perfect - Sunny & 50 degrees, 71% humidity, 8mph NNW
SWAG: Nike short sleeve t-shirt & race poster
Race Organization: Smooth and seamless
Crowd Support: AMAZING ... cheering spectators literally lined up from start to finish
Volunteer Support: Tons of volunteers who were very helpful
Water Stops: Perfectly organized, well stocked, two blocks long, with Gatorade first and water second every time
Food: Standard post race food with "recovery box" for all finishers
Age: 44
Weight: 172
Health: Perfect - strong & healthy
Conditioning: Great "23 mile shape", needed a little more at the end
Finish Time: 3:14:48 New PR and Boston Marathon Qualifying Time
Avg Pace: 7:21
Place: 2,016/39,122 Overall     315/3,577 40-44 AG

Beautiful view of the Wrigley Building early Saturday morning along the Chicago River Walk at the corner of Walbash & Wacker 
Everyone I spoke with prior to this race raved about how great it was ... and it was exactly as advertised ... simply awesome!  For a race with almost 40,000 runners, the organization and volunteer staff made you feel like everything was centered around you.  All times and locations were communicated well, and you just never had a question about where to go or when to be there.  There were obvious concerns about it being the largest United States race since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, but everything went off without a hitch.  I would highly recommend it to everyone!  It was just a great experience.

Michael and I left Kansas City early Friday morning for a long weekend in Chicago.  We planned on taking it easy for couple of days prior to the race, and then flying home on Monday.  And for the most part that strategy worked, although we probably walked way too much ... but that's almost impossible not to do in Chicago.  It's kinda like Vegas in that everything looks a lot closer than it is because it's so big.  Michael's FitBit step tracker she wears told us we walked over 7 miles both days before the race on Sunday.

2013 Chicago Marathon Finisher Medal on left, 2013 Chicago Marathon Nike short sleeve dry-fit t-shirt on the right
Probably the only negative thing about the Chicago Marathon (in my opinion) is the medal.  I generally don't care about race
medals, but a lot of people do ... and this one is probably the second or third worst one I've ever received after a marathon,  
It's small, thin, and cheap with a plain dime-store lanyard/ribbon, and no date, 36th anniversary, or anything other than the BOM logo of course.
Frankly, considering the cost, popularity, and high profile nature of the race, they need to do a little better job than this Cracker Jack prize.
2013 Chicago Marathon race poster included in our race bags at packet pick up
We both love Chicago ... there's just so much to do in that giant city.  But for this trip we focused mainly on race oriented activities like packet pickup at the Health & Fitness Expo and making sure we fueled as well as possible.  We also had a chance to meet up again with our ol' friend Coy from FirstInPhilly.  She ran the race with Michael, and we had a wonderful dinner with her family Saturday night before the race.  We had also planned on meeting Terzah from BQby40, but couldn't work it into our schedule.  Hopefully we can get together with her next year in Colorado.

We stayed at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel on the corner of Wacker and State in the downtown loop.  In case you're wondering, it was $734 for three nights ... yikes!  Probably appropriate for where it's located, but I'm cheap.  But since we got shut out during the Chicago Marathon online registration disaster, and then again in the ridiculous post-registration make-shift lottery, we had to settle on going through Marathon Tours.  At the time, it was one of the only ones left.  But it was great! It was located right in the heart of downtown, a couple of blocks from Michigan Avenue, and only about a half mile from all of the race activity.

It was also right across the street from the famous Chicago Theater.  The theater is a Chicago landmark and has been there since 1921.  So Michael and I took quite a few pictures with it.  But on Saturday night we were doing the tourist thing, and a few young adults walked by and "not so under their breath" mockingly said ... "Wow, it's a theater!"  We both died laughing.  Mainly because we DID look pretty touristy ... but also because it's exactly the same thing both of us would have mouthed off at that age.

We just can't go to Chicago without hanging out at Cloud Gate AKA "The Bean" in Millennium Park
We also spent some time in Millennium park on Michigan Avenue on the South side of the Downtown Loop.  The park is home to many public art exhibits, the Pavilion, The Chicago Art Institute, and of course Cloud Gate ... or more commonly known as "The Bean".  Cloud Gate is the mirrored sculpture that reflects Chicago's beautiful downtown skyline and is a tourist favorite.  Millennium Park was also home to all of the race day activities, so Michael and I took the eight block walk from our hotel to check it out on Saturday before the race.

We like PIG BUTTS and we cannot lie.  Millennium Park pig sculptures have nipples and so do I.

Two lovely ladies and big dork in Chicago, Michael, Theresa, & me
One super-cool thing happened on Saturday when Michael and I were coming out of Nike Town on "The Miracle Mile".  We had just started back to our hotel when a lady approached us ... right there on Michigan Avenue in a crowd of about a million people ... and said "I follow both of your blogs!"  We were both kinda like ... huh?  Is this a joke?  We were speechless!  She then told us she was from Kansas City too and thought we looked familiar, and then realized it was us.  She started to introduce herself, and Michael said "Wait, are you Theresa?" ... which she was.  (It was so funny because literally the day before, Michael had asked me if a lady named Theresa had commented on my blog because she was really nice, from KC, and running Chicago too.)  We chatted for a minute and of course snapped a picture with her and then we all went on our way.  It was so random running into her in the middle of all those people in a huge city.  But she was really cool ... and of course being a hometown girl from KC ... why wouldn't she be!  Michael and I later stalked her race time and she ran GREAT on Sunday and completed her first marathon.  Great job Theresa!  And so awesome to meet you!

Michael basically spent the rest of the day snapping pictures of her man.  Don't let the big ears, half-grown beard (sorry - it's all I can sprout), balding head, and frail physique fool you.  Yes, individually those things are hideous, but wrap them all up in this package and I'm pretty sure it says "Chicago Fashion Model"!  I think these photos speak as evidence.

Health & Fitness Expo
On Friday when we first rolled into town, we got situated in our room, met Patrick for lunch (Michael's friend from high school), and then met up with Coy to head over the Health & Fitness Expo.  The Expo was held at McCormick Place.  It's a large convention center close to Soldier Field, about two miles from our hotel and was a little too far on foot.  So we opted for the shorter four block walk to one of the many shuttle bus locations to catch a ride over to the event.  Most marathon shuttle buses are typically local school buses, which was the case in Chicago as well.  As my knees grind into the back of the seats in front of me, and I do my best not to pull a hammy by simply sitting there, I'm reminded of just how much I've grown since 3rd grade.

For a marathon hosting 40,000 runners, the Expo and packet pick up couldn't have ran more seamlessly.  When you first entered the packet pick up area, we had to show ID and our race booklet that had been mailed to us weeks before.  Once officials confirmed it was you, they gave us a counter number where we could pick up our bibs.  At the counter, a waiting volunteer CALLED YOU BY NAME as you walked up and made you feel welcome. It was a really cool touch.  Like everything else at the race, it really personalized it.  They then directed you to the back of the Expo where we picked up our race bag, t-shirt, and poster.  The shirt I ordered was way too small, but no worries - they even had a t-shirt exchange booth and traded it out for me - no questions asked or trouble at all!

Left - Michael & me with Scott Jurek, REALLY nice guy, top left - me out running Kenyans, top middle - owning Chicago, top right - Dean Karnazes signing autographs, bottom left - me & Coy on the shuttle bus, bottom right - Michael REALLY excited to pick up her bib.
Me with a beautiful girl on a date in downtown Chicago

After that we just walked around and enjoyed the expo.  Besides the fact that it was massive, it was pretty much the run of the mill marathon expo.  There were a million vendor booths, promo videos playing everywhere, and a ton of volunteers there answering questions about the race.  I think I also saw the Chicago Bears mascot wandering around at some point too.

As usual, we took a lot of stupid photos and pretty much acted like fools.  But we also took a picture in front of a Nike LED sign that when prompted by your bib, read "(your name) Owns Chicago".  Kinda funny.

We also saw Dean Karnazes, but didn't wait in the long line to meet him, but met and took a picture with Scott Jurek.  I've read nothing but really good things about Scott and how cool he is, and in the 5 minutes we spent with him, he seemed like a good dude.  He took a few minutes to talk with everyone and seemed really genuine.  I was also surprised at how big he was.  He was skinny, but his frame was bigger than me.  He said he tried to stick up for all of the bigger guys trying to run.

After grabbing the shuttle back to our hotel, Michael and I had a little date night at a corner sports bar called Sweetwater.  Honestly, it was "just okay" - but it was nice to relax together after a busy day of traveling.  We ate a nice dinner and then walked around downtown a little more before heading back to the hotel to get some rest.

A lot of added security measures for the 2013 Chicago Marathon.  top left - starting line gated off, top right - bomb units on the ready, bottom left - all recycle bins down down out of service and sealed off to the public the day before the race, bottom right - bag searches at the entrance to Athlete Village on race day
Outside our hotel before heading to the race
Race Day
I got a really good night's sleep on Saturday and felt really refreshed when the race rolled around on Sunday.  I had planned all year for the Chicago Marathon to be my "A Race", and I felt strong and ready to go.  I really felt like I had a fairly strong race in me, but a few doubts danced in my head because of the longer than usual taper period I had utilized for this race.  But I was determined that I was gonna "sell out" for this one and whatever happened, happened.

Michael and I started our races about 30 minutes apart from each other, and at different locations in the line up.  So I basically packed my bag and we said our good-byes, but kept texting until I dropped my bag at gear check.  The morning air was little chilly for walking - only about 47 degrees with a slight North breeze - but it would perfect for running later.  Plus, there wasn't a cloud in the dark morning sky and you could just tell it was going to be the perfect day for a marathon.

I knew there would be a lot of people heading to the starting line at the same time, but I was amazed at the shear volume of people that flooded the sidewalks, all heading in the same direction.  But I was also particularly struck by the amount of added security measures around the marathon, all weekend, but especially on marathon morning.  In addition to the added check points, and sealed trash cans, there were added gates and police officers everywhere.

It was probably a 15-20 minute walk from my hotel to the Gate 1 entrance.  All runners who were in Corrals A-G entered through Gate 1 into the "Athlete Village".   Before we got to Chicago, I was a little concerned that it would be disorganized or difficult to make your times where you needed to be.  But with so many people headed in the same direction, it was pretty easy to just follow the crowds.  Plus, all of the Gates, Corrals, and Gear Check areas were clearly marked and hard to miss.

Gate 1 - one of three entry points into the starting corrals and bag drop area - you had to have a race bib past this point
The Chicago Marathon was the first major marathon in the United States since the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in 2013.  It was very apparent that it was a priority for the City of Chicago to make marathoners and their friends and families feel safe and secure during the weekend.  And they did a great job.  You noticed they were there, but really never felt stifled or overwhelmed by their presence.  It slowed the entry process down a little because all bags entering into the race area had to be checked, and a lot of things were gated off.  But it really wasn't that bad.

Huge volumes of runners on race morning, but well organized and running smoothly through all of the check points
Probably the most apparent measure of security came at the beginning and end of the race.  There were no spectators allowed at the starting or finish lines.  Really strange.  But because the Boston incidents happened near the finish line, the closest anyone could get to those high profile areas were about a half mile away.  It was a little different starting and finishing such a big race with no crowds cheering, and it was especially noticeable at the end.  The finishing chutes that are usually filled with folks celebrating your accomplishment in that final few hundred meters were no where to be found.  It was like a ghost town.  It didn't affect the run at all ... just a little out of the norm.  But went off smoothly, and after the race it was reported that there were no incidents at all at the event.

Almost 40,000 runners finished the race at the 2013 Chicago Marathon (photo from the Chicago Sun-Times)

Cool, calm, & collected at the mid point of the race

After dropping my bag near the Buckingham Fountain at a very organized and designated by bib number gear check area, I made my way down to Starting Corral B.  The corral gate closed at 7:20 am, and if you weren't inside the gate, you basically had to go down to one of the other gates and start from a position further back in the pack.  I made sure I was inside my gate, but watched as many people immediately on the other side of the chain-link fence took care of their final duties ... and I mean DUTIES ... as in several bare bottomed squatted women mooning everyone about 20 feet straight ahead ... and even more Full Monty males, some literally facing the crowd taking care of their business as well.  There was runner nudity everywhere! It was like a really athletic Woodstock!  Just crazy!  If the Port-O-Potty lines were too long to wait, they just unabashedly dropped trou right there and let it fly.  Male. Female. Young.  Old.  It didn't matter.  It was crazy, man!  Just a frantic last minute potty break for about 500 runners right beside the Starting Corral.

There was literally nowhere to warm up before the race with everyone packed like sardines into the starting gates, so we all just basically did some on the spot stretching and jumping to elevate the heart rate a little.  I wasn't crazy about starting the race without warming up at all, but it worked out fine.  Even though I was about to run really hard, for a about three hours, I had a genuine peace before this one.  I knew that if I ran a relaxed, smart race, good things would happen.  And when the gun sounded, the giant pack of thousands of runners all surged forward and we were off.  For some reason it was a little surreal, but we were running the Chicago Marathon!

Getting tired and form breaking down a little
through China Town at about mile 22
The Chicago Marathon is one of the flattest marathon courses in the United States, but it's also know for the huge crowds that line the streets of the Windy City, cheering as runners pass.  Even though I had ran in other large races, I couldn't believe the volume of people standing, watching, and cheering along the way.  At some intersections, there were folks 15-20 people deep trying to get a look at the activities.  They waved thousands of signs with huge faces of their particular runner, funny marathon sayings, and well-wishes to random strangers.  They blew air horns and blared loud music.  Little kids reached out their hands for high and low fives for the runners.  Church congregations stood outside their houses of worship waving and cheering.  And most of all, everyone just smiled!  Everyone watching was so happy and it made me smile as I passed the hoards of onlookers.  It was so energizing and really picked you up when the race got tough.

It was such a beautiful morning and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  It was about 49 degrees when the race started and the light North wind made it feel a little cooler lined up in the starting area.  I had arm sleeves and gloves on, but quickly rolled down the sleeves at about mile two.  My hands always stay really cold during a race so I ended up keeping the gloves on all day.  The conditions literally couldn't have been more perfect for all the runners. And as a result, a new course record was was set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at a blazing 2:03:45 on Sunday!  Along with the course record, it was also the fourth fastest marathon ever ran.

Everything about the day and the course was amazing.  We ran through the sky-scrapered streets of ChiTown, enjoying all it had to offer.   At times the crowds would get so large and so loud that it was like running through a deafening scream-tunnel.  Once we left one unique section of the city, we would enter another equally fascinating neighborhood.  From Old Town to Wrigleyville.  From Greek Town to Linkin Park.  From China Town to Pilsen.  It was all amazing.  And there spectators at every turn.  Chicago's finest did a great job of holding the crowds back so the streets didn't get too narrow as runners passed.  We ran by as their outstretched arms held back the masses like teens trying to get a look at the Beetles.  It just felt like a really big deal to be running the race.

Fighting it at 25 & 26 ... but holding on for a PR & BQ ... Relax, that's just sweat
The water stops for the Chicago Marathon are like giant well-oiled machine.  They were positioned like clock-work every 2.5 miles.  But the volunteers are what made them great.  The folks helping out were so encouraging and there was an army of them.  They offered "Great job!", "Way to go!", and "Lookin' good!" as you passed by, gently trying to take the fluid-filled cup from their Gatorade-soaked hands.  Their positive attitudes really gave you a boost.

All of the water stops were literally about two city blocks long with Gatorade first, and then water next, on both sides of the street.  Some of the later stops had bananas in between.  And in a couple of locations there were GU gels before you got to the water stations.  Even though this race featured an unusually high number of runners, there was simply no bottle necking at the stops.  You could literally run through every stop without slowing or breaking pace much at all.  And as with everything else during the weekend, they ran smoothly.  The water stops were a thing of perfection.

Even though the start of the race was pretty bunched up, we quickly spread out and there was room to maintain your pace.  I'm a notoriously slow starter, so I spent some time dodging and darting around runners, which added about a quarter mile to my race.  But that was completely my fault due to the slow start.  There was plenty of room to run your planned race and keep the pace you trained for.  The large crowds didn't slow me down.

So tired ... but relieved and satisfied with a new PR & BQ after the race in front of the Buckingham Fountain
As for my race, I ran a REALLY strong race.  I'll break down everything in detail in a later post, including splits, preparation, etc.  But through 21 miles I was averaging a 7:09 pace overall.  And I really felt in control until about mile 22 when my steps started to slow and my pace began to dip a little.  At mile 23 & 24, the pace faded even more and I really began to fight it.  At mile 25 I was a runner with a HUGE problem.  Until about mile 22 I had planned on "coasting in" with a finish time of 3:08 or so ... which would have crushed my old PR of 3:20.  But as I began to fade, I really questioned if I could come in under the required 3:15 for the 44 year old Boston Marathon qualifying time, which was one of my goals for the race.  I fought off throwing up, and I had to stop and walk a few times in those last two miles, which was really disappointing.  But I was so proud of myself for fighting it and managing two 9:00 miles during 25 & 26.  With my head swimming and stomach churning, I mustered enough energy to come in at 3:14:48 ... a new personal best and qualified for Boston again!  I was so happy ... and relieved!  All day I had been under a 7:00 pace, which was my biggest goal of the race, but as it turned out, I was basically in great 22-23 mile shape ... but not a full 26 mile shape.  I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a tiny bit disappointed that I dropped the pace a little in those last few miles, but overall it was a great race for me, and I'll hopefully remedy the conditioning in future races.
Runners picking up their bags at gear check after the race
Alphabetized tents to assist runners with finding their families in the Runner Reunite area in Millennium Park after the race
One particular thing of note in the finisher corrals, just past the finish line, was the great interest the volunteers took in keeping everyone moving.  It was clear they didn't want the huge volume of runners creating a log jamb at the finish line.  There were spotters on elevated stairs, similar to what Drum Majors use to direct bands, scouting for runners who needed assistance.  I must have looked like one of those folks.  Immediately after I crossed the finish line my lower left quad and right adductors were cramping a little.  My intent was to stop for just a second to let the tightness pass, when all of the sudden a very friendly, but eager young volunteer came rushing up and began riddling me with a series of questions about my age, my condition, how I felt, could I walk, if this was my first race, etc.  I appreciated the help, but told him it was just a little cramping and needed a minute.  He was having none of it.  He guided me by the arm and said, "Let's keep walking!"  It was kind of annoying at the time, because I had been moving for over 3 hours and just wanted to stand still for two seconds.  But I completely understand that logistically they needed to keep the flow.

Thousands of happy runners with their runners on Michigan Avenue in front of The Art Institute of Chicago
Two Finisher Medals, two PR's, and four sore legs on the perfect day at the end of the Chicago Marathon

After recovering a little in the Runner Reunite area  just south of The Buckingham Fountain, I hobbled back to the hotel, showered & changed, and then made my way back to the finish area to meet Michael and Coy.  The conditions were great when I was running, but it got a little warm for the girls.  Plus, it was just one of those days for Michael where it just didn't feel right, from the start.  But this amazing girl powered through for an awesome PR of her own, completing her second full marathon!  SHE'S AWESOME!!!

We spent most of the rest of the day just relaxing and exchanging stories about the race, but not before we walked three blocks from our hotel for some Giordano's Pizza!!!  It's maybe my most favorite in the pizza in the world and I started thinking about it halfway through the race.  Michael of course tried to down the whole thing herself as soon as they brought it out, but I managed a couple of pieces. It was soooo good!

Following the race, the special edition Chicago Sun-Times listed all of the names and times of every Chicago Marathon finisher.  It was really cool to open to the "W's" and see James & Michael Weatherly ... all the way from Lees Summit, Missouri ... listed right there with some of the greatest runners in the world.  Also on Monday, we saw the story of Maickel Melamed, a Venezuelan batting Muscular Dystrophy who finished the marathon in 17 hours.  People like Maickel are true champions and truly embody the spirit of the marathon. Amazing!

We retired fairly early on Sunday night in Chicago before waking up at 4:00 am on Monday to catch an early flight from Midway back to KC.  Even though our legs were tired and the soreness was setting in, we both had really enjoyed the trip.  We loved the Chicago Marathon and would recommend it to everyone!  With the popularity of marathons continuing to grow, I don't know that we'll have an opportunity to run it again any time soon.  But it definitely should be on your list!
... be great today! 


  1. WOOHOO BQ!!!! Isn't it the best feeling?! Congratulations on a solid race, a PR, and a BQ. Looking forward to more details soon, but until then - enjoyed the glimpse of Chicago and want to do that one myself someday if I'm ever better. Oh, and you guys are the cutest together ;-)

  2. Looks like you two had a great time in Chicago and a successful marathon. Great job on your PR!

  3. Wow! Great report and even better run! Congratulations! Awesome PR and what a fantastic marathon experience overall. You are fast and on your way to Boston!!!

  4. Great Job, Jim! I followed you and Michael...PR's earned for both of you, well done! Chicago is my hometown and when the weather is good, the race is the best. However, I must disagree with you on the pizza...Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza is pure heaven!!!! Soooo, I guess you two will have to do Chicago again next year and give it a try! :-)

    Susan SRMS

  5. Susan - Ha, that's exactly what Michael and were talking about at dinner. I told her that I didn't think "real Chicagoans" considered it the best pizza, but I love it. Next time for sure we'll hit up Lou Malnati's! Thanks for following!

  6. It was awesome to see you guys!! I can't believe I NEVER ONCE ate pizza while I was there. Wait a second, is that a spatula Michael has in her hand?

  7. Awesome race recap! Congratulations on your PR. This recap motivates me to run next year with a friend of mine who just moved to Chicago and runs with
    Chicago Run Three Two. I wish they had a running group like this where I live. I always enjoy reading you blog when I get the chance, it has made a big impact on my running and I believe it helped me tremendously in qualifying for Boston....It was your hip workout video that helped strengthen some weak gluts and hip flexors.

  8. Look at you and your shiny new PR! Huge congrats!

  9. Again, Congrats on the PR!! You and Michael rocked the PR's in Chicago.

  10. Man, you guys rocked Chicago. Congrats again on the PR & BQ.... see you 2015 in Boston?

  11. Fantastic Jim! That's an awesome achievement.

    Great race report too. You almost made me want to sign up for next year's event.

  12. I love reading your race reports. Again, job well done!

  13. lol on the pig photos - I like the white one the best haha

    Sounds like you had a solid race, congrats on the PR! And qualifying for Boston by 12 seconds?!? You are the man of close Boston qualifiers - didn't you qualify by 1 second originally a couple years back?

  14. This is one pretty damn awesome race review and wonderful review of Chicago!!

    I agree with you and Michael about this years medals. They are not great.

    Congrats again on the PR and BQ!!

  15. I'm on your blog! I'm famous now too! It was seriously so fun to run into you and Michael. I'm glad you didn't think I was some kind of creepy lurker! Instead you both were generous and sweet and positive. It's just what I needed. I'm not at all surprised you did so well. You worked hard all summer and it seemed like it was all coming together for you. Congrats!

  16. Awesome race and congrats on the BQ! This is one I've pondered. Flat and fast, sounds promising!! Congratulations and glad you enjoyed Chicago!

  17. Congratulations!! What a great feeling and a STRONG race! I love all the and Michael are really lucky to be able to share your love of running and racing; it's something I wish my husband could be a part of.

    I LOVE Giordano's pizza. True story...when he was 18, my son went to Chicago on a volleyball trip. I wasn't able to go. While he was there, his coach bet him he couldn't eat an entire medium-sized Chicago-style pizza by himself. The coach lost that bet, and Nathan was very disappointed on the next trip when I went along and wouldn't let him repeat his feat of gluttony.

  18. Congrats on a new PR and BQ! It's an awesome time! Chicago is on my list some time but I'm not sure I like such a large crowd.

  19. Congratulations!!! and good luck for Boston.

  20. Sounds like a GREAT time! I really need to get to Chicago one day.

    I wonder what security measures NYC will be taking. No one at the finish? That's just upsetting.

  21. Truly an inspiration! Your blog got me started running! I love seeing the amazing medals and your in depth description of your marathon weekend...race wise and personal time. I was born and raised in Chicago but live in Kansas because the army saw it fit to station me at fort riley. But I got in with a charity this year to run the Chicago marathon!If i can have a finish time even 2 hrs after ur Chicago time I'll be thrilled...thanks again....keep the marathon magic coming

    -one of your biggest fans
    Eric Barnes

  22. Cool race review. I'm running Chicago this year on October 12th and hope to PR as well. Seeing you are from Kansas City made me want to share with you that I am organizing a race series in Missouri in 2015 where you can earn points at each race and try to win a crystal cup trophy (awarded to every age group series winner). First race is March 21st in KC. More info at


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