7:57am. What it looks like from the Preferred Start area. Perhaps 5,000 athletes ahead and 30,000 athletes behind, waiting to go. The small green banner in the distance -- that's where it all begins: the starting line.
And we're off. Looking back toward the starting line -- small green banner -- from 200 meters away. A sea of humanity has begun the journey.
First overpass, 400 meters into the race. You inspire us.
Daylight on the other side. Crossing the Chicago River for the first time. Still in the first mile.
Mile 2. A quick return back into the loop over the Chicago River again.
Prime cheering space: the Chicago Theater.
Among the towering banks on LaSalle Street, heading north and into mile 3.
After Lincoln Park Zoo, the pack of runners thins out only a little, as we're settling into a rhythm by mile 8.
Mile 13, the turn from Franklin onto Adams, heading west. The crowd is packed with spectators several levels deep, and the cheering makes this one of the most enjoyable spots on the course.
Mile 14, heading west to United Center. The Energizer crew keeps them (us) going.
Past Greektown, heading south toward mile 19 and Chinatown. Runners are looking more serious.
Continuing south past the Windy City.
At 30k, there's always time to mug for the overhead cameras. Wonder how windy is was? Look at the LaSalle Bank banner, at right.
Mile 20 aid station. Thanks to the volunteers for being there on a cold, blustery day.
Pace group leaders carried the time goal on a long stick. See '3:45' at left. And the runners follow. Nearing Chinatown.
Chinatown, nearing mile 22. Quite a sight, something to look forward to each year.
Nearly 22 miles into the race, the spectators were still out in force. Bundled up, but out there. In eleven years of racing Chicago, I've never seen more people throughout the entire course.
Are we there yet? Mile 23.
Mile 24. No stopping us now.
With 1 mile to go, at least one runner was smiling.
With 300 meters to go, a small but nasty uphill heading east on Roosevelt.
Forging up that hill. You can hear the finish line around the corner.
A left turn onto Columbus, and you're almost done. 26 miles done, 0.2 to go. Enjoy.
This is what it looks like to approach the finish line ffrom 150 meters away. Everyone picks up speed, everyone looks better, everyone wants to finish with a smile.
A group of runners break the 4 hour barrier.
Have to check your watch to see how you did.
Then it sinks in. Just steps from the finish line, the faces show it all.
Finding the nearest seat. These two deserve a break.
In a haze. What the finish area -- a sea of athletes in silver mylar -- might look like to some finishers?
(actually, it's just condensation on the lens)
Pre race press-conference with eventual winner Robert Cheruiyot. Team Brooks/Hanson runner Brian Sell, who finished 5th, looks on.
Eventual women's winner Berhane Adere, from Ethiopia, at the pre-race press conference.