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CHICAGO (CBS)– One man suffered cardiac arrest in the last miles of the race, but cool weather kept injuries down in this year’s Bank of American Chicago Marathon, race officials said. The cool weather provided nearly ideal conditions for runners, and the men’s winner broke the course record.
At mile 21, a 47-year-old runner suffered cardiac arrest but was shocked twice by medical personnel, regained consciousness and was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was alert and talking to staff. They would not identify the runner or his hometown. Nine other participants were transported to hospitals, which is 50 to 60 percent fewer than in recent years.
The elite athletes made history as did the ordinary ones with a record high 38,535 starting in the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. So many runners took part that just after the six-hour mark, complaints came in from those who completed the race and were told there were no medals left to hand out.
Ethiopians swept the top three spots on the men’s side with Tsegaye Kebede running a course record and countrywoman Atsede Baysa winning the women’s side in one of the tightest races in marathon history.
“2-04, I like it!” Kebede told a TV reporter just after the race.
“When we win one to third, I am happy,” Kebede said. “It is a great day for Ethiopia.”
And a good one for him as he pushed a brutally fast second half to set the course record of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds.
“My dream is always to run 2:04,” he said. “I am very happy. This is a great day.’’
Kebede pulled away late and was all alone, waving to the crowd as he approached the finish at Grant Park. Fellow countrymen Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) and Tilahun Regassa (2:05:28), followed him but also topped the previous course record set last year by Kenyan Moses Mosop (2:05:37)
Though Kebede pulled far ahead of Lilesa, the women were within steps of each other, trading leads, right up to the finish. Baysa edged Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo by a stride at the wire, winning in 2:22:03.
“Just keep her behind,” Baysa said she was thinking.
Russian Liliya Shobukhova finished fourth in her bid to become first to win Chicago four straight times.
“There was not enough time after the Olympics for me to prepare for the pace today,” she said.
Sunday’s race let stand the women’s record of 2:17:18 set by Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain in 2002.
The record number of starters came after a record-fast six days to draw the maximum 45,000 registrations, with runners from all 50 states and 115 countries. It took 35 weeks for the race to fill up as recently as 2003.
The race brought hundreds of thousands of supporters and spectators, with the first wave of runners taking off at 7:30 a.m. in 40-degree weather. The second wave followed at 8 a.m.
A grimacing Anne Fuchs, 32, of Uptown was hobbling through Grant Park after Sunday’s race. She’s run three marathons and has the battle scars to prove it.
“I’m a little scared to take off my shoe,” Fuchs said. “I’m down to 8½ toenails. … One of them was surgically removed; so it’s quite painful.”
But otherwise, Fuchs said, the race was a pleasure to run.
She beat her goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes, and she said she couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
“It was ideal — absolutely perfect weather,” she said.
Carlos Jaramillo, who captained the aid station in the heart of Pilsen near the 19-mile marker, said the chillier weather meant runners were on the whole a lot less thirsty.
Last year, many runners grabbed two cups at a time. This year, usually just one, Jaramillo said. The weather also kept the station’s volunteers on their toes.
“The volunteers had to keep moving, rather than lying around,” Jaramillo said.
Tom McShane was running in support of a sick friend, Brian Egan, who has cancer. It wasn’t McShane’s best time, but he still had enough energy to jog over to his buddies after the race. McShane, 58, of Oak Park has run 19 marathons. McShane describes himself as just “a little insane” to keep running such long races.
“My run was slow but great,” he said. “I’m getting older, I’m getting heavier and I’m still running against the wind.”
McShane says he does a lot of his training on Sundays with his buddies, taking breaks at various churches along the way.
“If we hit five churches, that’s one Mass,” he joked.
At the starting line, music blared in the background as an announcer shouted out country names while runners stepped off. The weather was ideal for runners, whose summery gear contrasted with spectators who were trying to stay warm.
The 26.2-mile race begins and ends on Columbus in Grant Park, first heading as far north as Addison, as far west as Damen and as far south as 35th before looping back north.
First to go and first to have a winner were the wheelchair racers. They began at 7:20, and Josh Cassidy of Canada was the first to cross the finish line about 8:53 a.m.
This year’s temperatures were a radical change from last year’s race. The temperature was 40 degrees when the race began and 44 degrees when Kebede crossed the finish. Last year, the temperature was 64 degrees at the 7:30 start, 66 degrees by 9 a.m. and 70 degrees when the elite runners had finished and 77 degrees when most of the runners finished.
North Side spectators were bundled up in hooded sweatshirts and gloves as the race got off to a chilly, breezy start. A thin crowd stretched along North Cannon Drive in Lake View East to cheer the wheelchair participants, which began their race at 7:20.
Among those watching was Casey O’Brien, 34, who ran last year.
“I spent most of last summer in physical therapy for my knees — for running-related issues,” said O’Brien of Lincoln Park. O’Brien got engaged on race day last year. Her then-boyfriend got in a bit of trouble with race officials by trying to jump in for the last mile to propose. He got kicked off the course, because he wasn’t a registered runner. But it all ended well for O’Brien. Her boyfriend popped the question later in the day.
Just a few minutes after the elite runners passed the six-mile mark, a great clot of the amateur folks poured through. They wore hot pink, fluorescent orange, and a few brave souls went shirtless. One guy wore a splotchy black-and-white cow costume with udders on his belly.
“Moo! You can do it!” yelled Katie Easterly, 28, a student at the University of Chicago’s Booth School.
Easterly held up a neon green sign that read “Run, Victor, Run!” in honor of her racing buddy of the same name.
A cup of water can only do so much. Runners just north of downtown grooved to the Old Town School of Folk Music’s “Beatles Ensemble.”
Runners clapped and jumped in the air. One man named Carlos stopped to shake his belly, while two lady runners shook their butts at the band.
Nearer the starting line, 14-year-old Emily Murphy was on hand with her mom and other family and friends cheering for her 47-year-old dad, Kevin Murphy, and 17-year-old sister, Rebecca Murphy, all of West Chicago. It’s Kevin’s fourth marathon and Rebecca’s first.
Dressed in a bright orange hat with pointed furry ears, Emily said, “I felt so proud” when they passed by. She and her group held up signs cheering for family and strangers: “Run like a girl, Becca,” “Run person I don’t know,” and “Run for chocolate.”
Among the weird sights along marathon route — besides the juggling runner and a participant dressed like Mozart — were the large number of runners’ gloves scattered among the discarded water bottles and cups. In places, it was hard to walk two feet, without seeing a pair of scrunched-up woolen gloves. And on LaSalle Street, a man on a bicycle was picking through the jettisoned items and stuffing them in a little sack.
Many runners were running for charity while others were fulfilling personal goals. Cesar Bonilla, 24, of Glendale Heights is running his first marathon. The public accountant said about 14 family members are out supporting him. Asked why he was running, he said, “It was something I just wanted to accomplish in my lifetime.”
Twenty-three-year-old Mike Castellucci, of Haldon, New Jersey is running with an oversized replica of his resume on his back, hoping that his participation in the marathon will lead to a job in his field while also enabling him to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Since graduating with a degree in music management in 2011, he has been looking for work with a record label in promotions and talent scouting with no success so far, he said.
“There’s going to be thousands of people running and watching,” he said. “Maybe one of them is the right one,” that will lead to that job, he said.
Castelluci, a trumpet player, who presently works waiting tables and as a substitute teacher, said his goal also had been to raise $900 for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. He’s surpassed that, raising more than $1,100.
“If I’m going to hopefully get any help from anyone else out there, I can’t do it without also providing my help,” he said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)