Running Club Quenches Thirst for Chicago Marathon’s Longest Mile

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Sarah Hon (left to right), Teresa Banks, Christina Gray and Sarah Nowicki, members of Marian Catholic’s Cross Country team, stack water cups early Sunday morning. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The longest mile in a Marathon can often be the last, whether a runner finishes the race or not.

Members of the Park Forest Running and Pancake Club helped staff the 25-mile-mark water station, helping hydrate those preparing for the final stage of the course. The last aid station on the course was well equipped with more than enough drinks for participants. Around 250 volunteers from the PFRPC, Marian Catholic and Lincoln Way East began to assemble at 7:15 a.m. Before the first competitor arrived, volunteers had 40 tables stacked four or five rows high with Gatorade and water. Many stayed until after 3:30 p.m., and some organizers remained until 4:30 p.m.

Volunteers dined on pancakes in the morning and brats and hot dogs for lunch, courtesy of the running club.

PFRPC member Dr. Mark McKeigue volunteered his medical expertise at the 22-mile-mark medical tent.

The 2008 Chicago Marathon offered a sense of redemption for many runners after last year’s race was stopped after 3½ hours when temperatures climbed to the high 80s and overwhelming humidity challenged even the most fit runners. Aid stations ran short of water early in the 2007 race, and thirty-five-year-old Chad Schieber collapsed and died.

Organizers added five aid stations this year and doubled medical staff at medical tents set up along the course. This time around, the temperature climbed to 84 degrees but a drop in humidity made conditions more bearable for participants.

Approximately four hours into this year’s Marathon, weather conditions compelled race officials to upgrade warning conditions from "moderate" to "dangerous," but the race was not canceled.

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Lead runner Evans Cheruiyot sprints up South Michigan Ave. Sunday for the last mile of the 2008 Chicago Marathon. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

In only his second marathon, Kenya’s Evans Cheruiyot pulled away from fellow countryman David Mandago in the final two miles of the 31st annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon to win the men’s title in 2:06:25. On the women’s side, Russia’s Lidiya Grigoryeva won her first Bank of America Chicago Marathon title in 2:27:17. Fellow Russian Alevtina Biktimirova placed second in 2:29:32.

In the wheelchair competition, both the men’s and women’s champions successfully defended their titles from last year. Australia’s Kurt Fearnley won the men’s race in 1:30:16, and Amanda McGrory from Champaign, IL won the women’s race in 1:55:12.

A total of 31,401 runners and 30 wheelchair participants finished the 26.2-mile race, according to race officials.

Other top runners and wheel chair participants include:

Men’s Top 10
1. Evans Cheruiyot, KEN, 2:06:25
2. David Mandago, KEN, 2:07:37
3. Timothy Cherigat, KEN, 2:11:39
4. Wesley Korir, KEN, 2:13:53
5. Martin Lauret, NED, 2:15:10
6. Emmanuel Mutai, KEN, 2:15:36
7. Mike Reneau, USA, 2:16:20
8. William Kipsang, KEN, 2:16:41
9. Daniel Njenga, KEN, 2:17:33
10. Richard Limo, KEN, 2:18:48

Women’s Top 10
1. Lidiya Grigoryeva, RUS, 2:27:17
2. Alevtina Biktimirova, RUS, 2:29:32
3. Kiyoko Shimahara, JPN, 2:30:19
4. Constantina Tomescu-Dita, ROU, 2:30:57
5. Desiree Davila, USA, 2:31:33
6. Colleen De Reuck, USA, 2:32:25
7. Bezunesh Bekele, ETH, 2:32:41
8. Paige Higgins, USA, 2:33:06
9. Kate O’Neill, USA, 2:34:04
10. Berhane Adere, ETH, 2:34:16

Men’s Top 3 Wheelchair
1. Kurt Fearnley, AUS, 1:30:16
2. Masazumi Soejima, JPN, 1:32:30
3. Krige Schabort, RSA, 1:36:21

Women’s Top 3 Wheelchair
1. Amanda McGrory, USA, 1:55:12
2. Cheri Blauwet, USA, 1:55:34
3. Melissa Stockwell, USA, 2:08:53

Source and complete race results are available at  http://www.chicagomarathon.com