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Chicago Marathon 2007: This One’s Gonna Hurt

By Justin Sondak in News on Oct 5, 2007 7:45PM

marathon_2007_10.jpgThat steady wailing sound you may have heard this morning is 45,000 runners freaking out about Sunday’s forecast. For the 30th Chicago Marathon, Tom Skilling is promising record heat with a generous dollop of humidity. Runners, it’s time to dig deep and summon the strength that got you through that 14-mile training run in August or that sweaty half-marathon you conquered last month.

To the thousands who fear death or worse this weekend, we say: Relax. You can’t control the weather, and stressing about it won’t improve things. Continue carbo-loading, hydrating, and vegging on the couch or at the movie theater as usual. Check out the advice of Chicago Marathon vets and the race’s medical director to stay cool.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our own hot-weather endurance trials:

Don’t be a hero. These aren’t the conditions for a personal best; finishing in one piece is good enough. And while we commend you for reporting ailing runners to the race officials, leave the heavy lifting to the EMTs and focus on your own race.

Pack sunscreen. You wouldn’t spend 3-5 hours at the beach without slathering on the white stuff. Running won’t decrease your risk of skin cancer, so stash a few travel-sized packets in your shorts and reapply before you hit the shade-impaired West Loop.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, but keep your feet dry. Spectators with super soakers are your friends (we’ll be spraying the weary at Mile 16). But stay away from anyone offering to pour a gallon jug on your head. Your socks and shoes will get all squishy, unleashing an army of blisters on your toes, heels and soles. We wish we didn’t know that.

Have friends meet you at the finish line. And when they complain about the heat, resist the urge to slap them.

The 30th LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon starts and finishes in Grant Park Sunday. Wheelchair entrants start at 7:55 a.m., everyone else starts at 8. More info at the marathon website.

Image via Chicago Outfit.