October 10, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

I've mentioned previously that I'm definitely not a runner. But when our friend, Paolo, signed up for his very first marathon, Mary, Jon, Brandon and I knew we had to be there to support him.

Up until this weekend, I knew the marathon was a big deal... but it wasn't something that really impressed me, if I'm honest. But I'm a changed woman after watching yesterday's race. The energy downtown was amazing. I'm so glad I got to experience this day. 

We talked to a woman (and her grand daughter) who was cheering for her daughter who was running her 19th marathon at age 50 in her goal to run in every state. We talked to two guys from World Vision who told us about their mission to take on these races as a means to raise money for clean water and basic living needs for impoverished people around the world. We saw people of every race, shape, age, and size you can imagine. Inspiring, I tell ya! 

We decided that our first viewing spot would be just before the 13 mile marker. We knew Paolo had been doing 12 miles in his training and thought he might need a little extra boost once he hit that point. We staked out the perfect spot and waited... and waited... and waited.

Once we got confirmation (via text updates) that he hit the 15k mark, we knew he was close. We stood there with our sign in hand, scanning the crowds of runners for our friend in green.

And then, finally, he saw us (We almost missed him)... and he ran over with the biggest smile on his face and hugged us all. He said later that he had been scanning the crowd the entire race looking for familiar faces and was so happy and relieved when he finally saw us.

We all agreed that we were surprised and proud at how strong he looked at the half-way point. I'll be completely honest and say that some of us (including me) may have doubted his abilities just a tad. But he proved us wrong. We saw him at four different locations along the race, and each time, we were impressed with how well he was doing. His spirits were especially high when he found his brother's girlfriend, Whitney and her uncle and friend and was able to continue running with them (only Paolo would happen upon someone he knew in a crowd of 45,000 runners). 

I'm so excited to report that Paolo crossed the finish line in 6:00:12. Not bad for his first time, huh?

Congratulations, Paolo, on finishing your first marathon! I am so proud of you and inspired by you! You did it!!!

3 comments:

  1. Ok my 1st comment wasn't up :(

    So I will write it again. Erin reading this made me tear up and made me feel really loved!! U are an awesome friend and I love u and everyone else who was there so much!!! It was awesome seeing u guys there and I am so grateful to have u guys in my life. U guys are the real meaning of BFF! this was.so sweet of u for putting this up... <3 U!!!

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  2. Ahhh this is so amazing! I have always thought about a marathon but never took the plunge. I love reading about people's first experiences! Congrats Paolo!

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