Chicago was more than a race.
With 41,000 runners from over 100 countries and 1.7 million spectators on course, you know that Chicago has truly etched its place as one of the 6 world marathon majors.
The Windy City with its awesome skyline provided a perfect backdrop for 18 ProSport runners in the first week of October.
For a group of 6 guys, this marathon was also the culmination of 6 years of running with Pro Sport back in 2012, for what turned out to be the failed NYC marathon, due to hurricane Sandy. The group re-formed in 2013 and have since travelled on the journey with ProSport towards the Abbott World Major Marathon Medal.
The years campaign seemed longer and more gruelling than ever. We are not sure if it was our age, Tim H’s 5.30 am Wednesday starts from August, Strappy’s strength classes or just the wettest, coldest and windiest Melbourne winter that wore us down. There were injuries aplenty during the campaign. If you weren’t on the running track, you were in the altitude chamber or in Pete Roberts chamber of pain, getting a well needed massage. Some of us spent more time in rehab than on the track!
We were all fortunate to have the backing of the ProSport team, not only when things were going to plan, but when things got tough and the program had to be varied to fit in with our injuries. Most importantly, Tim H not only got us to the start line, but more importantly had our fitness to a level that not only did we ALL finish, but there were some very notable PB’s.
Even though there was rain on marathon morning, the course was flat and fast. The crowd as expected are parochial, and if you had your name on your running top, you got lots of mentions by some very loud and engaged supporters.
For me, the highlights were the fact that I got to run in a world major marathon with a group of people I didn’t know pre 2012, that I now call friends. We have stuck at it for 6 years and now have achieved something that less than 90 Aussies or 4113 people worldwide have achieved-the Abbott World Major Marathon Medal. It’s a credit to ProSport that 10 of those 90 Aussies have trained with them in some capacity.
As special as that moment was, nothing beats coming together post race with your ProSport buddies at the hotel foyer and celebrating everybody’s achievement. The warm hugs, high 5’s and good wishes seem to wash the pain away that you endured a couple of hours ago.
We all want to thank Tim Hazell and the amazing support crew who not only got us to the start line, but allowed us to achieve our personal goals. The pain of marathon day eventually goes, but the memories last forever.
I would like to finish off with an observation.
When we started 2012, it seemed easier to get into those world major marathons. Even in 2016 there were less than 600 world major marathon finishers, and the Abbott Medal was not as well known. Fast forward to next year’s London 2019, where 370,000 athletes enter the ballot for 36,000 places. When you factor in committed charity places, the chances of getting in on a ballot are about 1 in 20. And, if you want to get in on a charity spot, be prepared to raise/donate more than $5,000 USD to secure a spot.
These events are now part of many people’s bucket lists. If you are keen, talk to the team at ProSport – I’m sure they can help.
These events are not cheap, but the experience and friendships come under the “priceless” category.