Don’t Sleep on Chicago

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The Fastest Marathon in the World?!

Well, it’s MarathonSZN. Berlin is behind us, NYC is a month out, and smack in the middle is the slept-on Chicago Marathon.

I’ll get to my own running and my approach to the race, but I do want to wax poetic about Chicago for a bit because I firmly believe that this race does not get enough love.

This Sunday sees the 45th running of the Chicago Marathon, one of the six current world majors … we all know that stuff. But this race is also the fastest in the world, in my opinion – DM to debate. Yes, Berlin is home to the current men’s and women’s world records, but until a week ago the women’s WR was set in Chicago in 2019 and the course has held the men’s WR in the past.

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“This race is also the fastest in the world, in my opinion – DM to debate.”

Tim Rossi

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Also, Eliud Kipchoge, Brigid Kosgei, Tirunesh Dibaba, Mo Farah, Sammy Wanjiru, Deena Kastor, Khalid Khannouchi, Paula Radcliffe, Dennis Kimetto – the list of Chicago’s past champions is an honour roll of GOATs.

So, star power? Check. Fast times? Check. That’s not even to mention how well organised the race is – the runner experience is second to none.


Oh, you’re cheering? What if I told you that you can easily see the lead runners go past five times?

I’ll get off my soapbox shortly but, in short, this race is awesome.

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The same goes for the community out here. In the US, NYC and LA get a ton of deserved love but the Chicago running community is also amazing. The crew scene has exploded, as can easily be seen by the number of cheer sections or shakeout runs being hosted throughout marathon weekend.

Tortugas, 3run2, Gumbo, 7onSundays, Windrunners, GRC, Peace Runners, Venados, Heartbreak, and many many more – if I missed ya I’m sorry, but I have a word limit and my editor wouldn’t have been happy. Suffice it to say, the scene here is crazyyyyy.

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And that community is part of the reason I am so excited to be racing the 2023 Chicago Marathon. When I moved to Chicago in 2019, the community welcomed me with open arms. And so, when I moved back to NYC in 2022, I knew I needed to find an excuse to come back. Second home vibes.

It’s that energy that I’m looking for on Sunday, energy I’m going to try to pour into the race.

And it may sound weird, but that’s my main focus headed into Chicago. I’ve written extensively about my goal of breaking 2:30, and that is absolutely still there, but my primary goal this weekend is to cross the finish line having fully emptied the tank. I want to give it everything I have and walk away from the race knowing I gave my best on the day.

If I do that, I’ll be happy.

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But I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I am excited about taking another shot at 26.2 on a flat, fast course. Berlin 2022 was definitely not what I’d hoped for (TL;DR: I tested positive for Covid the week of the race), and I am thankful to have the opportunity to take another crack at the marathon.

I guess I’m saying that I am confident the fitness is there (sample workouts: 20 miles at a 5:48 average, 4 x 3 miles going 5:46, 5:46, 5:36, and 5:29 averages, 2 x 6 miles going 5:38 and 5:29 avgs), but I also know the marathon is unpredictable. And rather than being super fixated on a specific time, I’m fixated on trying to measure my effort well enough to reach the finish line having given it my all.

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It’s a much more zen approach than what I’ve aimed for in the past, but it’s not intentional. It’s just the approach that has felt right, and I’m rolling with it.

I’ll run this race, I’ll learn, and hopefully I can run more races in the future.

Already this marathon cycle I’ve hit a ton of goals. Riley Wolff and I provided weekly training updates via Threads in an effort to try and be more transparent about the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, that marathon training brings. I stayed healthy, something that has been my kryptonite in the past. I balanced running with life decently well (depending on who you ask). I enjoyed the process!

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And here we are: I’ve picked up my bib, my race shoes are sitting in my backpack with my singlet, and I’ve crushed a ton of vitamin C to try and avoid getting sick. Importantly, I’ve written down my goals:

A: Cross the finish line having given it my all B: Get below 2:30 C: Enjoy it out there, take what I’m given and flow with the emotions of the race well

And ultimately all we got is all we got.

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