By Todd McClamroch in News on Oct 19, 2006 1:01PM
On Sunday, approximately 1.5 million spectators will be searching to find one or two of their friends who are hidden among the 40,000 competitors in the 2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. Finding your friend, family member, or colleague that is running the marathon can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Luckily there are a few tools that will help you track runners throughout the 26.2-mile course. Each runner will have a chip on his or her shoe that allows their time to be tracked as they run through any of the split time booths. Updates on runners can be sent to you via e-mail or phone (text message) thanks to the Runner Update Network by Active.com. Simply search for your favorite runner, and select your preferred method of contact.
Too high-tech for you? Then check out one of ten area Starbucks that will provide runner updates. The Starbucks-based runner Update Centers will have marathon support staff on hand to provide updates on a runner’s progress. Be sure to get the bib number for the runner you wish to track. View a list of Starbucks locations offering runner updates on the Chicago Marathon website. Also, the Runner Reunite Area, located at Buckingham Fountain (look for large yellow weather balloons), will also provide runner updates. The Runner Reunited Area will be equipped with alphabetically posted signs that enable friends and family members to establish a specific meeting place after the race.
Two maps of the marathon are available online. The first is a printable map in PDF format. The second is an interactive map that allows you to toggle on and off certain landmarks. The Chicago Marathon website has provided a list of El stations that are along the route to help move the 1.5 million spectators from point to point.