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*The name of the person involved has been kept anonymous out of respect for privacy*
I had first heard of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon while on vacation in 2012. I met a fellow runner in the lobby of the resort I was staying at. During our conversation it was discovered we are both runners and we remained in that lobby at least 2 hours discussing races,trainings; the works. We both had only run half marathons at that point. We made arrangements to go on a run together the next morning. Before we parted ways he mentioned a trip he took to Chicago for his birthday. He had made the Chicago Half Marathon and Marathon a part of his birthday trip. At the time I had never thought about running a marathon. I was still keeping to my 13.1 mile races and 10Ks. We finally went on our separate ways and met up for our morning run.
It was a short 3 mile run but was torture because of the grueling desert heat. It felt like my insides were on fire. He didn’t have water so I gave him one of my bottles along the run. We hung together for part of the run. He began to fall back. It seems he had a bit much to drink the night before and the heat combined with the alcohol, had completely dehydrated him. He began to walk some. He told me to go on ahead and he would catch up. Ultimately, I completed the run and had to go back for him. I had a nice tall bottle of water in hand. We laughed about it later on. We still keep in touch and have even met up for a race once. I love meeting new people especially runners. Runners are in a class of their own, a different breed. In any event, that is how I first heard of the B of A Chicago Marathon.
As I said earlier, running a full marathon, let alone Bank of America Chicago Marathon, never crossed my mind. It hadn’t until this year. It was brought back to my attention by my sister friend, my soror who is also a marathon runner and body builder. My soror and I met on the National Black Marathoner’s Association Face Book Organization Page. We soon after met up for a track workout. I admit she kicked my butt. I could tell this was something of a walk in the park for her. She has a very strong core and power house leg strength from body building. That was a good workout. I needed someone to run with to make me step up my game. She most certainly made that happen.
A couple months went by before hearing from her again. I was glad to receive the call. What I didn’t expect was the request. She asked me if I would run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with her. (By this time I had run my first full marathon in December 2012, Rock ‘N’ Roll Vegas Marathon). I actually was honored as well as surprised she thought of me. Remember we hadn’t spoken for a while. She began to tell me that she had recently been told by her doctor that she would have to give up running because of a heart condition. That she wants the B Of A Chicago Marathon to be her last race of the 2013 year. She went on to tell me that she is still in training for body building competitions and would begin training for B of A soon after the body building competitions were over. I immediately said yes! This meant giving up my 10 medals from the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series. I was going to run 5 marathons to earn not only the 5 medals from doing all the races but the extra 5 for completing so many within a year. However, running with my sister friend and soror, in what would be her last race forever,is more important.
Both of us eagerly waited for the first day of registration. Knowing it would be difficult to do so with the thousands of runners that would be registering at the same time. Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a Boston Qualifier (BQ). It is said to be a very flat and fast course. Some of everybody from everywhere would be waiting to register.
Well we were right about the huge amount of runners registering all at once. There were so many, that the system crashed. Before it crashed runners were being doubled billed or bounced off the registration site. Despite the attempts of the registration host, the system could not be brought back up. Then the email came from B of A registration host. Registration could not be open until further notice. Those who were doubled billed had their money refunded and were able to keep their registration. A second email quickly came that said the only fare way to fill the left over 1500 slots was to do a lottery. My sister friend and I were unsure how this would play out. We were not just running together but rooming together. We talked and decided to go for the lottery with hopes we both get in. Soon after the lottery opened we quickly put our names in so not to miss the deadline. We waited. I still didn’t know if I would officially register if I made it. What if I got in and she didn’t? I was also worried about being able to afford to go. I had to quickly remind myself this is for her. Make it happen. Pray on it.
Eventually everyone was contacted by another email. I got in! I was so excited. I didn’t register right away. I wanted to call my soror first to see if she made it in also. There was a deadline given to sign up. So I had time. I called; luckily she was available to answer her phone. THANK GOD! She made it in also. We were both happy we could exhale. Next, find a hotel closest to the start and air travel.
I never knew when I would run another marathon. I knew I wanted to. It seems this one is meant to be. I’m so glad she asked me to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with her. I wouldn’t have thought of registering if it wasn’t for my sister friend...my soror and fellow runner.
Since she asked me to do this with her, I have ran 2 more marathons; totaling 3 marathons under my belt; in this case, compression tights. All of them completed between December 2, 2012 and June 2, 2013; December 2012 - R’N’R Vegas, May 18, 2013 - Rohring Rock, June 2, 2013 - R ‘N’R San Diego. Two more scheduled this year, The Ventura Marathon in September 2013 and the grand finale…Bank of America Chicago Marathon October 2013.
Even though I rejoice in this news, I am saddened that my soror will no longer be able to pound pavement or kick up dust on the trails. I will use my legs to carry her with me on the roads, trails and all weather tracks. I don’t know if I could handle not being able to run again. I love it so much. The sun on my skin, wind in my hair, cool night breezes, early morning fresh air and the waves and smiles of other runners as they speed by me. Running is as much a part of my life as breathing. It is one of the very few things that make me happy and comforts me at the end of a long day or restless sleep.
Thank you and runner’s love to my sister friend, my soror and a true runner...An athlete.