CHICAGO (CBS) – A record crowd of just over 38,132 runners took part in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. After a cool morning start, temperatures climbed into the 80’s. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has a look at what kept many of the runners staying the course for the grueling 26.2 mile run.
At mile marker 10, if the agony of defeat begins to set in, a certain voice of inspiration pierces the air.
With phrases like, “you go, girl” or “that’s it, cowboy,” Amy Jakubowski was there to root on her cousins and just about anyone else in the crowd. She knows it will fill her cousins with joy as they run past.
But her support doesn’t end there.
“I cheer for everybody, if I see a name, a country, I call out,” she said pointing to the hundreds of runners passing by. “Sometimes you get a wink, sometimes you get a smile, sometimes you get a fist pump in the air.”
In spite of the many bell ringers and noise makers, Amy’s sheer enthusiasm rises above the rest.
Still before many of these runners set foot on the course, their morning stretch and weeks of training already had a purpose.
“Five of us, we are running for an orphanage in Sarejevo, Bosnia,” said Mirzet Bozer of Chicago.
Many of the runners were going the distance for charities. For Erin Maus, it’s autism research.
“We’re running for a greater purpose than ourselves, and when you hit that wall it makes all the difference in the world,” said Maus who was running her third marathon.
“Aunt Mary Ellen was a runner herself and she was diagnosed with cancer,” said Kathleen Dunne of Park Ridge.
She stood beside her sisters Kelley and Heather. Each was wearing a t-shirt with their aunt’s picture. Though she died, the Dunne sisters pressed on every mile, raising research dollars in her honor.
“Some days you just get emotional,” said Heather about their days of training together dedicated to their aunt.
“Just thinking about her all the time keeps us going,” said Kelley.
This year’s marathon was the most competitive in its 33-year history, with three of the world’s top ranked runners competing.
Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia repeated as Chicago Marathon champions.
Wanjiru beat Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia with a late sprint to finish in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds.
The win all but assured him of the World Marathon Majors series championship and the $500,000 that goes with it — something Shobukhova locked up after a personal-best 2:20:25.
“Today was a big day,” Wanjiru said. “It was for the leader points.”
The 23-year-old Wanjiru was all alone in the final stretch and became the youngest runner to win four major marathons, with a first-place finish at London in 2009 and the 2008 Olympics to go with his wins in Chicago.
On the women’s side, Shobukhova grabbed the lead in the 21st mile after trailing by 24 seconds and ran away with her third major marathon championship and second this year to go with her win at London in April. That left her $615,000 richer, including a $40,000 bonus for finishing under 2:21.
Shobukhova will use the money to build a hotel with her husband in her hometown. As for the race, she said, “I was controlling” it and never felt like it was getting away from her.
Now in its 33rd year, the marathon started at 7:30 a.m. in Grant Park. Along the way it wound through numerous Chicago neighborhoods — including Old Town, Greektown, Chinatown, Lincoln Park and Lake View — before ending back in Grant Park.
Race officials said 65 runners were hospitalized — a number in line with past years. There were no fatalities.
The number of those hospitalized appears to be going up as of 3:40 p.m. Red Cross spokeswoman Martha Carlos said they have been notified of 85 people hospitalized.
Marathon spokesman Joe Goode described the injuries as “typical medical issues.” He also said others were treated at various stations along the course.
Separate from the 85 hospitalized, 74 others have been reconnected with their families because of the Patient Connection Program. Of those reconnected, 60 were in tents being treated on the scene and 14 were hospitalized, Carlos said.
“It’s working,” she said of the program.
Hospitals give the Red Cross a description of the person they have hospitalized and Red Cross workers match those descriptions and locations with calls they receive from concerned family members.
Those who need help should contact (312) 729-6200. “We want to help reunite people,’’ Carlos said.
During the day, ratings of the weather conditions were raised, with the marathon starting at “green,” rising to “yellow” or caution at 9:15 a.m. and raised to “red” by 11:30 a.m. to tell runners to use caution.
Marathon organizers made adjustments. Around 12:30 p.m., temperatures started to decline a little, but they kept the red alert anyway.
Marathon officials expected to go through 54,600 gallons of water, 45,000 bananas, 32,000 bagels and more than 46,000 gallons of Gatorade.
When runners take their spots at the start of the marathon, many of them toss off a layer of clothing that they wear over their running clothes.
Last year, 350 pounds of this discarded clothing was collected and donated to Chicago’s Pacific Garden Mission, according to the marathon. In 2009, 34,705 pounds of fresh and unused food and water was collected at the finish line and donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The top male and female finisher each will get a $75,000 prize. There are also bonuses tied to top finishing times.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole, the Associated Press and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.