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Gearing up for the Chicago Marathon

Observer Scene | Monday, October 4, 2004

In 490 B.C., the Greek soldier Pheidippides ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Greek army over the Persians and immediately dropped dead. Over the centuries, instead of heeding this event as a warning, people have instead turned running the distance into a tradition. The Chicago Marathon was first run in 1977 and is one of America’s largest marathons. It will be run this year on Oct. 10. Chicago is the closest major marathon to the Notre Dame campus, and a number of students are preparing the make the trek over to the windy city after months of training. The course begins and ends in Grant Park on Columbus Drive near Buckingham Fountain. Runners have six and a half hours in which to finish the course, and they are given water, Gatorade and energy bars at various points throughout the course. People are motivated to run the marathon for a variety for reasons. “I used to run in high school competitively and I wasn’t doing any sports here at school, so I thought it would be a good challenge to push myself and do the marathon,” senior Kate Wagner said.Senior Enrique Schaerer is running for a charity, Opportunity Enterprises. He has exceeded his fundraising goal of $350 by asking friends and family help him raise money for a man to get job training to go back to work. While Schaerer has run a marathon before, this one will be even more worthwhile.”I feel like I’m running with more of a purpose, now that I’m running for a charity,” Schaerer said. “It’s going to mean that much more.”Junior Katie Hanafin has been training for the marathon as well and finds the experience rewarding.”A lot of people will say, ‘Oh my gosh I can barely run two miles’ when I tell them I’m running a marathon,” Hanafin said. “But at the beginning of the summer I could barely do two miles and now I can do 20, so it’s made me realize that I can do something if I set my mind to it.”While the marathon takes only part of a day, it takes months of preparation for the big race. Training for the marathon is a difficult task, because it includes not only punishing physical training but also a lot of mental preparation. “Usually I run about five days a week in the morning and then once a week I do a long run, over 12 miles,” Wagner said. “Other than that, I’m just kind of mentally preparing; I think that’s going to be one of the harder parts.” Even those who haven’t put in the long months of work can enjoy the marathon in Chicago. People line the sidewalks of the course to cheer for those they know, and a variety of bands will play on stages set up along the course. A number of different clubs will host activities for spectators to enjoy while waiting for the race to make it to their part of the course. The marathon brings not only the city of Chicago together but also helps bring together runners from all over the world.