Chicago is one of the 5 Marathon Majors. (,London, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, New York )
So when Dave Emilio and I were invited to work the Canada Running Series booth for the STWM in Chicago, we jumped at the chance.
Moses Mossop ( who ran 2011 Boston 2:03:06 and that was second to Geoffry Mutai !!) was running. Unfortunately the press conference was across town neither Dave nor I could make that event and promote Toronto’s premier running event at the same time. So no elite interviews this weekend. However I did get to meet:
-Hal Higdon (running author guru) PB 2:21:55
He has contributed to Runner’s World magazine longer than any other writer. He is the author of 34 books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.
-Ed Eyestone-elite marathoner (PB 2:10 and US Olympic Marathoner 1988 and 1992)
-Dean Karnazes the guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 days AND also ran 3,000 miles (4,800 km) across the United States from Disneyland to New York City in 75 days, running 40 to 50 miles per day,
Speaking of ultra runners,
-Scott Jurek came over to our booth and posed for a picture.
Among a myriad of other records, most notable is United States record for 24 hour distance on all surfaces (165.7 Miles/266.01 Kilometers).
Won the Spartathlon 152-mile (245 km) race from Athens to Sparta, Greece three consecutive times (2006-2008).…..
When we spoke in awe of this, he smiled and said, I am just an ultra-runner.
As an aside to this, Scott is a strict vegetarian.
Chicago has been lucky for me in terms of randomly spotting elite athletes.
In 2002 when I was there to compete in the Chicago Marathon, I was on my way back from a 10k training run before the marathon and happened to go into the NikeTown store. I didn’t bring my camera, (rats) as Catherine Ndreaba (4 time Boston winner PB 218:47) AND Paula Radcliffe (WR 2:15:23) were both in the store signing autographs. Amazing seeing them up close and personal . They are both so very thin. Catherine singed her card “Jesus Loves You”
They raced head to head the next day. Paula won setting the first of her two World Records 2:17.18
Catherine placed second in a time of 2:19:26
More on a random meeting with Paula in another post.
Back to the present, I was returning to the CRS booth at the Chicago expo, when an elite American runner strolls by with two other people. OMG, its Ryan Hall.
I turned back and spoke to his “handler” or manager/ agent and asked him if I could get a picture taken with Ryan. This is polite protocol to not ask the elite runner directly rather ask his or her agent for permission to speak and/or have your picture taken with them.
However when I asked his manager he said “Well Ryan has been on his feet for the past two hours” then the woman with them said
“I can take it as we walk” So this is the shot. I told Ryan it was his fault for being a running elite rock star and he just smiled and said thanks. Obviously I wished him a great race. He ran 2:08:04 the next day which brought him in 5th .
Ryan is the first American to run a sub one-hour Half Marathon. (59:53) 2007 Houston Texas.
We watched the race unfold the next day in Chicago. Dave and I were given VIP seats in the finishing tent where we could watch the live race on TV. After the race we went out to the race course to watch our Australian friend Sam run in. There were bleachers about 100 meters from the finish, which were empty so we thought we could get in (as we had wrist bands for the VIP tent we were allowed access). To our dismay, we we so close to the finishers we could almost touch them.
To rationalize, I said to Dave , “at least we got to watch it on TV” but then he told me to look across the road and there was a jumbo live action TV screen. Oh well at least we got to listen to the interview after Moses Mossop won th race in a course record time. (2:05:37)
Next post – random meeting with elite runner Paul Radcliffe.