CHICAGO — At Sunday's 26th annual Chicago Marathon, about 40,000 people, including some Marquette students, did their best to run around Chicago faster than the speed of the city's elevated trains.
An event that attracts huge crowds every year, the marathon is known for hosting world-class runners intent on breaking the world record and runners who enter the marathon to challenge themselves. Some participants dressed up in costumes such as a Chicago Cubs leprechaun, Kermit the Frog and Superman to attract the attention of spectators. Many Marquette students completed the marathon without costumes, but with support from the community.
Senior Katie Dillon was one of many to participate in what she called the "adrenaline rush."
"I'd never done anything like it before, but I had always wanted to do it once," Dillon said.
Senior Claire Lewandowski ran the marathon with Dillon and senior Katie Perry. Perry said she was running to accomplish a lifetime goal.
"I wanted a challenge," Lewandowski said. "I thought it would be fun, especially with my friends."
Dillon, Lewandowski and Perry wore yellow Marquette t-shirts during the marathon. Dillon said that she believed a number of Marquette students had traveled to Chicago to cheer for the runners because she heard the cheers as she ran past.
"It was nice that people were generally excited for you, cheering for you, telling you that you were doing well," Dillon said.
Lewandowski and Perry both agreed.
"For the first 15 miles, I could not keep the smile off my face," Lewandowski said. "I was constantly seeing people I knew."
The runners said the 26-mile, 385-yard course was a challenge.
"I wasn't tired, really, but my feet really started to hurt around mile 21," Dillon said.
Lewandowski agreed. Around mile 17, her quads and feet began to bother her, "but I had so much energy left at the end that I just started running faster and I passed a lot of people," she said.
All three admitted to certain degrees of soreness after the long run.
"I can't walk that well, but I am better than I expected (to be)," Perry said.
One Marquette runner, sophomore Katie Keefe, admitted that she "always wanted to run in a marathon," but she was running for more than herself.
She ran in memory of her brother and to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which gave her brother his wish several years ago, allowing him to meet the entire Chicago White Sox team shortly before his death from cancer. She raised over $5,000 for the charity, which she said was more than enough to present another child with a wish.
After the marathon, which she finished in just under four-and-a-half hours, Keefe said she was feeling "pretty good. I'm pretty sore from running, though. The last five miles were really hard, but (the whole thing) was really good."
Perry, Keefe, Dillon and Lewandowski all said they would consider running in another marathon.
Evans Rutto, a runner from Kenya, was this year's marathon winner. He completed the course in 2:05:50 breaking the world's best first-time marathoner record by almost a minute. Rutto needed to finish in 2:05:42, to break the all-time Chicago marathon record.
Ohio resident Rachael Townsend, 29, collapsed and died just after she crossed the finish line. The cause of her death is unknown, although during the race many people were treated for dehydration and heat-related illnesses. Townsend's death is the fourth in the past five years.