Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chicago Marathon: 26.2nd Circle of Hell?

CHICAGO -- I'm trying to track down our two RF runners for an in person, but the blogs and forums around the race are going ape!

The race featured no water at Mile 3 by the 12 minute pacers, several cancelations at Mile 13 and then Mile 20. Ambulances couldn't keep up with the pace of emergency calls.

Some 10,000 runners didn't even dare start, I hear. And the finish, staked out by Tribune photogs, was a scene of human wreckage with passing outs, barfings and agony aplenty.

Wow. Seriously, folks, much respect to Sheri and Craig. History was made today.


Patrick said...

We were there to watch one of Ruth's co-workers. We were sweating at 8:30am just from walking back over Columbus on Randolph. The back of the pack was nearly all walking by the time they got to the Randolph-to-the-river "tunnel", around 4000 at a guess. When we went to watch Mike run in 2002 only about 10 people were walking at that point.

It was hot in the shade at 11:00am. We walked passed the medical tent and ambulance staging area in Grant park near the finish line, and they were sending ambulances out onto the course at that point. Around 11:50, we thought we saw our guy cross, and made out way out. We heard no announcements that the race had been canceled or changed. As we passed the medical tent again, they were calling for 4 doc's to go out onto the course to assist runners. There were runners being loading into ambulances, and they were sending them out one after another. We passed one runner who had collapsed from a leg cramp, and was being helped by medics and other runners, but the sweat was making him look much worse than the leg pain was.

We made out way back into the loop, and headed north on Wabash, under the el tracks. When we got to Jackson (about 12:10) there were thousands of runners coming sown Jackson from the west headed for Grant Park. This was not part of the course. There were no cops, and traffic was stuck. Almost all of the runners were running. Not very fast, mind you, but certainly not as if there was no longer a race. We joked that it was the largest attempt at cheating we had ever seen.

Cop cars were frantically trying to get to the intersection to figure out what was going on. They finally made the runners stop to allow traffic to clear, and apparently then closed the street to cars once the trapped ones were clear. We stopped in Exchequor Pub (Mike should remember it from the rehearsal dinner) and Ruth got a notice on her Blackberry that the race had been canceled.

If they did have this as a contingency plan, they did a very poor job of relaying it to police and city services. With all the cops on hand for the regular loop portion of the race, there were plenty available by the time the race was called to deal with the shortcut back to Grant Park. It sure seemed that the last people to be told about it was the cops, who appeared to be reacting more to the sudden traffic problems, than any idea of the race being canceled up to 40 minutes prior to what we witnessed.

somebodytogobackintimewith said...

I was the one hogging all the water. My bad.