The Marathon That Stopped

Packing up

What’s this exciting picture? It’s a Chicago Marathon water station being packed up at 9:40 9:20** am, because they were out of water.

With the record heat yesterday, the Marathon was canceled around noon (about 2 and a half hours early). The word on the course was “they’ve run out of water and ambulances”. I was running near the back of the race* and water was hard to come by — at one water station we handed cups and told to go two more blocks where there were “hoses”, which turned out to be a fireman with a firehose attached to a hydrant. Yes, water, but not very organized. Really amazing was the generosity of bystanders who were handing out bottles of water or handfuls of ice. One restaurant near Broadway and Diversey (I’m sorry that I don’t remember which one) was giving out water in the only containers they had — styrofoam soup bowls.

I understand that the Marathon is a huge, and vastly distributed, event, staffed largely by volunteers. But it still seemed very disorganzied when they did cancel the marathon. Grant Park was something of a madhouse, as thousands of runners returned from the ‘wrong’ direction.

But, hey, I’m alive (eek) and I got to run 18 miles through our fine city and see a running set of testicles. And how about that photo finish and the drama at the women’s finish?

* I was totally on track to finish in 6 hours. Which is, if you’re not familiar with marathon times, very, very, slow.
** A commenter’s comments made me check my math (see below) and it turns out my camera was 20 minutes fast.

2 Comments so far

  1. eileen (unregistered) on October 13th, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

    Um, not certain where along the route this photo was taken, but if that’s the lagoon in Lincoln Park in the background, this photo is along the beginning of the route, about two-three miles in. At 9:40am, in a race that started at 8am, you would have to be running a 30 minute mile to pass it. Soooo, of course that water station would be broken down. Everybody had already passed it.


  2. Fuzzy (unregistered) on October 13th, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

    I’m a slow runner, but not *that* slow.

    Your math is a little off. The route doesn’t even enter Lincoln Park until mile 5, not “two-three” miles. And I crossed the start line at 8:21 am, with plenty of people behind me.

    I’ll admit that I think my camera must have been off by 20 minutes or so. The picture says it taken at 9:41 am. But at 9:26 am, by the Marathon’s clock I had just passed the 10 K mark running, at that point, about 10.5 minute miles. So 15 minutes later, at 9:40 I would have been up at mile 7 or so, which is on Sheridan, not in the park. So that has to be the 3rd aid station, which is just *before* the 10k mark.

    (OK, just to prove to myself that my camera is consistly off, this photo (identifiable by Cafe Latakia in the background) is the 4th aid station (just beyond mile 8). My camera says that was 10:13, but the Marathon clock says I was crossing the 15k mark, a mile and a half on, at 10:07. So, yes, about 20 minutes fast.)

    I don’t want to be whiny about it or anything — my life wasn’t ruined by them canceling the Marathon and I was taking an easy enough pace that I was never in any danger or anything — hell, I was carrying $20, I could have always ducked into a convenience store and gotten a liter of water. But it’s a flat-out truth that many of the aid stations ran out of water long before the entire race had passed.



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