Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago Marathon--Then & Now

Employing a technique I picked up from reading Joe Brainard's I Remember, I'd like to wax nostalgic about the Chicago Marathon. 

I remember when 6,000 people ran the marathon, yesterday it was 45,000.

I remember when my husband who was then my boyfriend could meet me at the finishing line. Yesterday we couldn't find the finish line for all the people.

I remember when it maybe $45 to sign up for the marathon. Someone yesterday told me they paid $160.

You used to be able to run the Chicago Marathon bandit--meaning just jump in at the last minute. Yesterday they were ONLY letting people with numbers into the park. So that even your family, loved ones, etc
couldn't even GET INTO the park to see their runner start. It was absolutely draconian.

I remember when the marathon wasn't sponsored by Bank of America--and it was A LOT BETTER.

We used to be able to glean clothes the runners flung at the last minute when the race started. We'd walk up and down Columbus Drive picking over the multitude of shirts, sweats, etc after the runners had cleared out. Yesterday they kept all the gleaners out and volunteers bagged the gear up. They were told it was going to be donated to homeless shelters. Listen , I work at a homeless shelter, ever since I can remember we've NEVER gotten a donation from Streets & San regarding running gear. Yesterday as me and my friend started taking the bagged clothes out of the jaws of on-coming trash compactor trucks, even the volunteers were appalled. WHAT A WASTE! they exclaimed. They then started helping us go through the bags; they too started looking for stuff they wanted--since it was really going into landfills.

I remember when the Chicago Marathon was about running. When you allow 45,000 people to sign up all you have are clogged streets where only the elite have a chance to run their race their way.

The Chicago Marathon has become a victim of corporate greed and sponsorship. Occupy Wall Street, sign up for the Milwaukee Marathon next year.

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