I live on a fairly busy street corner in the fair city of Chicago, and despite being many many floors above ground level, I hear a lot of noise from this intersection. One guy sets up his drum set on weekends and bangs away, and sometimes he’s joined by his buddy, Guitar Dude, and the two butcher Neil Diamond songs for everyone’s enjoyment. Then there’s Motorcyle Dude, who revs his motorcycle at the red light every night after midnight. Throw in a special blend of drunk Michigan alumni on their way to Duffy’s every Saturday afternoon (not cheering so loudly after that loss to Toledo, ARE YOU???), and you have, well, basically the best corner in the world.
I’ve grown accustomed to Guitar Dude, Motorcycle Dude, and the drunken Wolverines. However, I was completely unprepared for the travesty that occured yesterday, the day of the Chicago Marathon.
I awoke at 8:30 on Sunday morning to cheering, whistling, and – most inexplicably- cowbell ringing coming from the street below. I dragged my tired ass to the window, and what did I see? Oh yeah, the Chicago f’ing marathon.
I personally think that running 26 miles in a row is stupid as shit, but that’s probably because I am physically capable of running approximately 1.5 miles before passing out and/or puking everywhere. Fine, I’m jealous. And I acknowledge the level of athleticism and dedication it takes to run a marathon, so I’m not calling out the Chicago Marathon runners as assholes.
No, when I say “assholes”, I’m talking to YOU, woman with cowbell standing on the street corner at 8:30 AM. And YOU, hordes of people who were WALKING past my building 3 hours into the race.
Let’s start with the cheering crowds. Yeah, I get that your mom/brother/boyfriend/BFF has been training for the marathon for months and you want to be supportive. But it’s a fucking foot race, which means that unless you’re rollerblading alongside said mom/brother/boyfriend/BFF, the chances of you seeing and supporting that person for longer than, oh, 15 seconds, are pretty slim. And although the other thousands of runners in the marathon may appreciate your enthusiasm, I would venture to guess that the only thing worse than running 26 miles is hearing an endless string of “whoooo!!!”s and sharp, shrill whistle-blasts for the entirety of those 26 miles. Seriously, people. Save the cowbell for the finish line.
And now, for the walkers: WHAT. THE FUCK.
It’s great that back in January of 2008 you made an overly-optimistic resolution to run the marathon. And it’s great that you got your fat ass on a treadmill and jogged/walked for 30 minutes twice a week. I’m sure you feel awesome about yourself, but I have to break the bad news to you: YOU DID NOT RUN THE CHICAGO MARATHON.
Running 26 consecutive miles is impressive. It takes training. It takes stamina. It takes willpower. Running 5 miles and walking 21 miles is not impressive. It does not take training. It does not take stamina. It takes legs. And several hours.
A brief look at the CM website told me that the people passing under my windows were at approximately Mile 8. MILE EIGHT. There is no excuse for your shit to be walking at mile eight if you signed up for a MARATHON. Did you not realize that that a marathon is 26 miles? Did you not realize that you are actually supposed to, you know, RUN it? This would be like if I signed up to swim across the English Channel and arranged to have a boat pick me up 100 feet out.
So, just to recap: Kenyan dudes who ran the marathon in 2 hours? Awesome. People who ran all 26 miles? Awesome. Woman standing at the intersection under my bedroom window ringing a cowbell for three hours, and people taking a stroll past the eight-mile mark at 10:30 AM when the race started at 8:00? Yeah. You guys are assholes.