It’s still early, much before noon. Yet nearly 45,000 citizens of Chicago and of more than a hundred countries heel-and-toe it down Chicago’s widest thoroughfares. It’s marathon morning in Chicago and more than 1.5 million spectators surround to catch a glimpse.
Crowds hoot and holler, whistle and clap. Friends and family flock for the show with jumbo-sized posters and matching t-shirts. With such a fan base, it’s no wonder that attention-seeking sprinters may make a performance of it.
“What we didn’t expect is that we’d expend just as much energy waving as we do running,” says Tim Kelly, as he jogs along in a cowboy hat, bandana and white t-shirt marked with the words: “Team Outlaw.” “The crowd is great,” says Mike Wallace, of the same “team.” “It’s why we’re here.”
“Team Outlaw” is only one of many themed running groups and costumed joggers. There are jugglers, cross-dressers, Elvises, outfitted firefighters and clowns, to highlight a few.
It’s not always easy being an outfitted athlete. With temperatures surpassing eighty degrees by late morning, the act becomes a feat. “It’s a little hot out here, the heat is getting to us,” mentions The Joker, complete with a mess of face paint. “But, of course we’ll finish, we’ve got to fight crime.” His attitude appears mutual as more costumed characters wave and shuffle past. “We just hope to finish and have fun. We want to inspire people so that they finish with a smile,” adds Batman, with a host of other superhero friends, as they round the twelfth mile marker. (Andrea Giampoli)