CHICAGO (CBS) — As the thousands of runners made their way through a colorful 26.2 miles of the city during the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, with every stride and every burst of encouragement, there was a story.

Ellen and Frank Belotti were cheering on “Bean and Tow.” Bean is their daughter Regina Belotti, Tow is Ellen’s brother Tom Ramsden. Together they dedicated their run to Frank, who has been battling Cancer.

“It’s just overwhelming that they would want to support me,” Frank said at a corner of Lincoln Park, where they hoped to catch a glimpse of the two dashing by.

“It’s just heartfelt on both of their parts and we’re heartfelt in our thanks to both of them,” added Ellen.

A group of a half dozen girls from Hawthorn Elementary in Elmhurst hoped to inspire their teachers, somewhere in the crush of marathoners passing by.

They made posters saying, “Good luck, Mrs. Tamru and Mrs. Graff.” They also planned on screaming their names to be noticed on the sidelines.

In front of the tony row houses along Sedgewick, homeowners sprayed water from their hoses on the passersby and blasted music with a driving beat to inspire the runners to keep at it.

“This is our ninth year of running music out here,” said Brad Burk.

At the finish line, where their agonizing and invigorating journeys ended, runners admitted the support truly made a difference.

“It gets you going, about mile 20 you have a lot of bad thoughts a lot of dark thoughts and you see the crowd cheering you on and it gives you a great boost it’s a wonderful event,” said Matt Wisdom of Bloomington, Illinois.

Watch & Listen LIVE