Day 5 - Race Day
The start of the race was only 2 stops on the tube and so I was there nice and early. I was very impressed with the organisation and we were put in coloured areas from the start and so when you went into your colored areas that is where you left your bag, went to the toilet and got into your pen. This was the biggest race I had even done, but I was really impressed with the organisation and everything felt really calm. I went through the start line and was instantly running through a tunnel, on the other side I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people there with banners cheering all the runners on. I have never been in a race where there was so much support, the banners were hilarious “If Britney can survive 2007, you can survive this”, “I bet Beyoncé cant run a marathon” and lots, lots more. The city prides themself on all nationality and districts being represented and so each road you turned down would be a full of people supporting a different culture, with music and cheering and food, drinks, ice bags, beer on offer, it was AMAZING!!!! Once I had finished I was offered various food and water and most importantly a beer! Well earned! And through the race village I got massaged as well, happy days. In the evening a group of us headed to the Hard Rock Cafe as there was a free drink token that we were able to download from the marathon website. Expecting the place to be filled with runners we were quite surprised to find that the 9 off us were the only runners in the bar.
Day 6 - Sedgeways, Hancock Tower & American Football
In hindsight booking a sedgeway tour the day after a marathon wasn’t my best idea, by the end of the tour my legs were absolutely killing me but as it was such a fun tour I didnt really mind. The shop that we needed to meet in was near Buckingham Fountains (where the start of the marathon is) and I was surprised to see that all evidence of the marathon had completely gone. The day was beautiful and we got to see a lot of things out on the Sedgeways from the start of Route 66, the hotel that the gangsters used to stay in that is completely covered in bullet holes, the fountains and soldiers Field. After I had finished I jumped back on the subway and headed on down to the John Hancock centre, I was expecting there to be a que but I got straight into a lift and was sent through to the bar area where I got some lunch and a drink, which was really reasonably priced and very tasty too. Wherever you are seated you can see the views of the whole city, this is an absolute must do if you are going to Chicago. With some time to kill before the football started I walked towards the stadium via the Bean to take some standard tourist photos. I had never been to an American Football game before and as the Chicago Bears were at home I thought it would be rude not to go along. If you are ever thinking of going to a game in Chicago the seating choice is very, very important, it is not called the Windy City for nothing. My seat was about 5 rows from the top and I was absolutely frozen!! I stayed for the whole game but I still have no idea on the rules but it was another life experience ticked off.
Day 7 - Last day in the city
After a very long and packed day yesterday I was exhausted and had a bit of a lay in. I had a helicopter ride scheduled for the afternoon but sadly it was cancelled at the last minute due to the weather. One minute in Chicago it can be brilliant sunshine and the next the fog can come down so low that you cant see the top of the buildings. Instead I spent the helicopter money on some new clothes, souvenirs and deep dish pizza.
Overall tips for Chicago Marathon
Book your hotel nice and early as they will sell out
Buy a 7 day metro card at the airport as it will save you money.
If you want to book a helicopter tour, do it whist you are there as you can keep an eye on the weather.
Take sun glasses, sun cream and the thickest coat you own as you will need them and probably all on the same day.
Enjoy the marathon, the support is some of the best in the world.
If you would like me to book your travel then contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or my website carolinehargreaves.inteletravel.uk