Marathon brings the world to Chicago

By The Columbia Chronicle

Kelly Woyan

Staff Writer

Running a marathon is not something most people would consider normal behavior. In fact, some of us can’t even run around a block. But more than 20,000 runners from all over the world defied the odds and showed up in downtown Chicago Oct. 11 to compete in the LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon. For some people, this year’s marathon is like no other.

Record number of people ran in the race. Just two years ago there were only 11,000 participants. More than 700,000 people got up early to cheer on the runners as they passed through their neighborhoods which was a record number of spectators. But it wasn’t only the spectators that showed up Sunday morning. A debut marathoner from Kenya showed up as well and gave people the chance to see records broken.

That marathoner, Ondoro Osoro, sprinted ahead of defending champion Khalid Khannouchi and erased an 11-second deficit. And this was all accomplished in the final three miles. Osoro eventually took the lead with less than a mile to the finish. Osoro’s time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 54 seconds is now the world record for a debut marathoner. The win also put him into third place for overall performance by a runner in a marathon.

This year’s winners were paid more money than other Chicago marathon winners. Osoro’s win earned him a hefty $120,000 which included a bonus for completing a course record. However, after the race the only Osoro could do was try to catch his breath, but siad he was a very happy man. Osoro seemed to be more overwhelmed by all the media attention than anything else.

Osoro wasn’t the only record-breaker from Kenya. Women’s marathon winner Joyce Chepchumba also gave spectators quite a show after she closed in on the lead runner, Colleen de Reuck, from South Africa in just one mile, finishing a full three minutes ahead of her. Chepchumba’s finish of 2 hours, 23 minutes and 57 seconds set the record as the second fastest winning time in Chicago history. Her win earned her a paycheck of $85,000. Not bad for a day’s work.

But running in a marathon is anything but a day’s work. In fact, all the work is in the preparation of such an event. Columbia senior Carly Crone decided to take that challenge last June when she signed with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA). She said the timing was perfect to accomplish the goal of finishing a marathon. However, unlike this year’s winners Osoro and Chepchumba, Crone desired to compete only against herself.

Almost every day this summer while many of us were sleeping in, Crone woke up early to pound the pavement. Even on days when she felt too tired or in too much pain from aching muscles she still continued to train. “It’s pushing yourself when you think you are in the worst of it. When you think it can’t get harder and it does, you still keep pushing yourself,” says Crone. Mental toughness is a characteristic of most runners. They don’t want to ever give up.

Crone finished the race with an admirable time of 4 hours, 32 minutes and 41 seconds. She actually picked up her pace in the final miles, something many runners are not able to do. But the idea of setting out to accomplish a goal and actually doing it was something Crone says carried over into every other aspect of her life. “It was awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I would definitely recommend it to everyone,” says Crone.

Osoro had similar sentiments. When asked if he would come back next year to defend his title he said, “Oh, I must if they invite me!” Even though it doesn’t take a marathon to achieve inner success, it is certainly one way to prove can come true.