Chicago Marathon: A View from the Gatorade Lines

Chicago Marathon: A View from the Gatorade Lines

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer at a little race called the Chicago Marathon. Though I’ve run my fair share of races, I’ve never volunteered…so when I saw that volunteers were still needed (on the blog of fellow ChicagoNow blogger Erin at Eri-thon), I jumped at the chance.

The morning started well before 6 am as volunteers set out thousands of cups of water and Gatorade. I was assigned to Gatorade (5 parts water, 1 part Gatorade concentrate for those interested). Here we are getting our Gatorade party on (please ignore the finger in the was early).

The race began with the wheelchair and hand-cycle marathon. So incredibly inspiring.

Next came the super elite runners. One of these runners, Ethopian Tsegaye Kebede, won the race (and $120K) in 2:04:38, a course record. Crazy impressive. That’s basically my time for a half marathon.

Equally inspiring were the tens of thousands of everyday people who also ran the race….and spent months preparing for it. The training is grueling, often painful, and always all encompassing. When seriously preparing for a marathon, you don’t do anything, go anywhere, or eat any piece of food without first thinking about how it will effect your training. And the time it takes away from your day, family, work, friends, and life is enormous. It’s not just the hours spent pounding out the miles, it’s the exhaustion that often follows, leaving you essentially incapacitated the rest of the day (I was known to take a nap…or two..or three after my super long marathon training runs).

And as if the dedication of these amateur (and often first time) runners was not enough, this year they raised an estimated $16 million for charity!

By the end of the marathon, I was covered in Gatorade and my voice was completely gone. I could not have been happier. Volunteering at the Chicago Marathon was a great experience, thanks, in large part, to the other, super enthusiastic volunteers at Aid Station #5 and my official group, Frontrunners (learn more about them here). Thanks to everyone (can’t wait for next year), congrats to all the runners, and a special shout-out to Suz, Lindsey, and Erin. You guys were great!

A super dorky picture of me and our Gatorade “tower” in its full glory



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  • I felt inspired by watching it on TV! But, I told my husband I would like to take the kids down to watch the runners next year - as what better lesson.

  • In reply to Yoga Mom:

    What a great idea, Yoga your kids would love it!!!

  • Thank you Rachel and all Marathon volunteers for excellent course support and enthusiasm yesterday!

  • In reply to Runner Academy:


  • Thanks for volunteering! It's quite an experience in and of itself, isn't it?

  • In reply to Erithon:

    Amazing! Thank YOU for making it possible. Hope you had a great time at your aid station!!!

  • This was fun to read!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed, Kathy....thanks so much for the kind comment!

  • Hello Rachel !
    I ran the Marathon ( 1st time in my life ) and wanted so hard to stop and say THANK YOU to the volunteers for you amazing support in this "little race", but time is important. Now that I have the chance... THANK YOU, Rachel.

  • In reply to Mone:

    Congrats on your first marathon...that's awesome! Hope it was a great experience!!!!

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