CHICAGO (CBS) — Over 40,000 runners from 120 countries and all 50 states came to Chicago. All eyes were on our city for the marathon, while trained eyes tried to keep the city safe.
There were bag searches, bomb sniffing dogs, barricades on top of barricades and police patrolling every inch of the race course.
The 2013 Chicago Marathon, the first major U.S. marathon since the Boston Marathon bombings, and the heightened security was very hard to miss.
Even federal agents from the ATF, FBI, and U.S. Marshal Service stepped in to help.
Runners and their supporters waited in long lines just to get inside Grant Park through one of four security checkpoints.
Race Director Carey Pinkowski says this year’s participation at 40, 230 runners set a record.
“I think this is an example of how resilient and strong the running community is,” said Pinkowski.
WBBM’s Steve Miller talked to some runners after they finished.
Somewhere between Pilsen and Chinatown comes “the wall” for Andrew Buss.
“Definitely about Mile 20 when you hit there is when you hit the wall. The last six miles is a lot of work.”
But he says running the marathon is unique.
“That’s what I was telling one of my friends last night. I said, ‘It’s the closest thing you get to playing a professional sport.’
“Because you get all these people cheering you on and you get these little kids giving you high-fives and stuff like that. And that’s what I thought was the coolest thing about it.”
And 31-year-old Andrew Buss just celebrated an anniversary.
“I had a heart valve replacement just over 10 years ago, so that’s one of my main reasons for getting into running.”
His time was 3 hours and 18 minutes.
An estimated 1 million spectators lined up along the 26.2 mile course to cheer and watch the marathon and they are what kept many runners motivated, spending hours creating colorful, crafty signs with no guarantee of ever spotting their loved ones.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley headed to Lakeview where one group cheerfully found their runner.
When the marathon hits Lakeview, the accent is always on the outrageous. This year’s theme was weddings. The “brides” offered runners a laugh, and a lift while others just offered water.
“People keep thinking I’m getting married but it’s the theme,” said volunteer, Rachel Anderson.
Volunteers dressed up as brides, bridesmaids, and maids of honor.
“They love this. They love this whole neighborhood. They’re always cheering for us. We’re supposed to be cheering for them,” said volunteer Jackie Gaik.
As far as security along the racecourse, it may be increased but it’s not overtly visible, which may be how police and spectators want it.
“I live in the area. It’s such a safe neighborhood. I haven’t felt any of the increased security here,” said Ashia Lewit.
For the thousands cheering on runners, just finding loved ones in the throng of 45,000 can be a tough task. One group was waiting for Kristin Fruend, a nurse at Northwestern Hospital.
Brother-in-law David Burland says the group wore all pink and that, “hopefully she’ll find us.”