CHICAGO (CBS) — Once again, the marathon showed Chicago has few rivals in staging big events. The city won praise from visitors, runners and spectators alike — at a time when it could especially use positive attention.

Along the marathon route, thousands of people can be seen cheering on people they don’t even know.

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“Everyone comes from everywhere, and not everyone has someone to cheer them on, so hopefully I can brighten their day,” said Loren Evangelist.

It is that generosity, along with Chicago’s beauty along the 26.2 miles, that makes this event the perfect showcase for a city internationally battered because of its violence.

One visitor from Portland, Oregon said, “Chicago’s awesome. Beautiful,” another from Spain saying, “We love Chicago. It’s a cool city!”

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Awesome, too, is the money raised for nearly 200 local, national and global charities and causes, such as those raising awareness for spinal cord injuries.

Franchesca Ortiz from Orlando supported her brother Ralphy, who ran for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

“He [Ralphy] has been — all of us have been extremely emotional. But I know this morning, he was definitely trying to get himself together in the right frame of mind to come out this morning and do what he does best — run,” Ortiz said.

It was the culmination of months of training, as well as support from loved ones and those sideline strangers.

“It was 20 weeks of preparation. Two kids, you know, it’s been a lot for all of us, we’re all in it together,” said Allison Tesnar, who was supporting her husband while he ran.

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Marathon officials say they don’t yet know how much money was raised for charity. Last year’s marathon brought in $16 million.