Sports

The Turn Into Chinatown
Larger ImageThe Turn Into Chinatown

I wasn’t planning to take any pictures of the Chicago Marathon this year because I knew I’d be too busy to process and upload all the photos. However, when I woke up unusually early on Sunday morning I decided I could at least drive back to Chinatown and take some pictures, even if I didn’t post them.

(I like the Chinatown location because I can drive in and out on the expressway without crossing the race course or encountering heavy traffic.)

The First Wheelers
Larger ImageThe First Wheelers

I got there in time to catch the beginning of the race and I took photos for an hour and a half as the lead runners passed by. I would have liked to stay to get the back of the pack—which is a lot more interesting—but I already had 800 photos and I knew I wouldn’t have time to upload any more.

Frontrunners
Larger ImageFrontrunners

If you ran in the race and you reached the giant pagoda thing you see in all the pictures of Chinatown before 11am, I might have taken your picture. You can lookup race results at the unofficial Chicago Marathon results page. I was located near 34.5km, so the timestamp at the 35km point should help you out. Just work from when you started and calculate your arrival time in my photo zone.

(I’ve mapped the location on Google Maps or (if you have it) Google Earth.)

The photos are divided into two groups for convenience:

All the photos should be in order (or nearly so). The middle part of the photo name is the time (e.g. CM_102351_0321 means 10:23:51), so if you calculate when you passed this location you can look for your picture.

All photos are 10MP JPEGs. You can order prints right off that page if you want, or you can also download the original full-resolution image by clicking the “save photo” link. Even if you appear small in the frame, at this resolution you should be able to get a nice picture by cropping in on yourself using any photo editing software.

Let me know if I got you.

These photographs may be used freely for non-commercial purposes (blog ads are okay) provided credit is given to Mark Draughn at http://www.windypundit.com. For other uses, please contact me.

The recent meltdown of the Chicago Marathon serves as an interesting example for discussing issues of responsibility and risk taking.

Over at Marathon Pundit, John Ruberry is taking issue with a Chicago Tribune opinion piece by Mike Downey, who has offered his take on who is responsible for the meltdown of the Chicago Marathon. He says it’s the runners’ fault. I think he’s confusing several issues, and it’s better to separate them and deal with them one at a time.

Hey, don’t blame the city of Chicago if you were too tired and too hot Sunday while running a marathon.

Downey’s right that you can’t blame the city of Chicago for the weather. You can’t blame LaSalle Bank for it either. The weather is always a risk at an outdoor event.

Some people have claimed that the race date could have been changed when the weather turned bad, but that seems unrealistic. Between the runners, the support staff, the city workers, the volunteers, and the media, perhaps 50,000 people would have to change their plans on a few days notice. You’d have a lot more things go wrong than a water distribution problem if you tried something like that.

And don’t blame sponsor LaSalle Bank if you were weak from thirst and couldn’t get enough to drink.

Here Downey is right and wrong in the same sentence. He’s right that you can’t “blame sponsor LaSalle Bank if you were weak from thirst.” Nobody was forcing the runners to keep on running. They did that themselves.

On the other hand, runners certainly can blame LaSalle Bank if they couldn’t get enough to drink. When LaSalle took the runners’ $110 entrance fee, they accepted responsibility for organizing the race, arranging for the course to be available at the scheduled data and time, and providing things the runners would need along the way, such as water.

As reports come in, it’s starting to look like the marathon organizers didn’t keep their part of the bargain when it came to the water supply. They didn’t force anyone to keep running, but neither did they provide the runners with their full $110 worth of services. I’m guessing that LaSalle’s agreement with the runners disclaims all liability for their failure, but that just means they won’t have to refund the money. It doesn’t mean they didn’t screw up.

“They didn’t plan for it,” one runner harped about Chicago’s race authorities.

“They clearly weren’t prepared,” another said on TV.

Wrong.

Totally wrong.

“They,” the marathon organizers, cautioned runners all week long that the temperature for Sunday was going to be hot. Not “unseasonably warm”—hot.

Warning people that it’s going to be hot is not the same as preparing for the heat. Marathon officials had a self-imposed duty to provide sufficient water. They failed.

If you are foolhardy enough to run a marathon when the temperature outdoors is up to 88 degrees, then it is your fault, no one else’s.

There’s nothing terribly foolhardy about running in a marathon, not even in really hot weather. Humans are efficient bipeds with no fur and a lot of sweat glands. Our ancient ancestors spent much of their time chasing game animals hour after hour in the sweltering heat of the African wilderness. We’re natural runners, and all healthy people are physiologically capable of training to run a marathon.

What about all the people who collapsed in Sunday’s marathon? Well, of the 35,000 people who entered the race, only about 300 people collapsed. That’s less than 1 percent. Most of those who collapsed recovered just fine within hours. (Some runners even recovered before the ambulances arrived. The treatment for heat exhaustion consists of resting, cooling off, and drinking water. Simply collapsing in a heap on the ground accomplishes the first two parts of the treatment. When it comes to distance running, we humans really are built for it.)

A handful of people had more serious health problems, and one man with a heart condition died. Those people probably shouldn’t have been running, especially if they knew of prior health problems. But except for that one third of one tenth of one percent, almost everybody came out of it okay.

There’s another way to look at it: Of course there are some health risks when 35,000 people run 26 miles under the sun. That’s what a marathon is.

Injuries and deaths are not uncommon in sports like motor racing, power boating, scuba diving, river rafting, surfing, and downhill skiing. Actor Christopher Reeves was paralyzed from a horseriding accident. One person in twenty who tries to climb Mount Everest never makes it back. For K2, it’s one in ten.

A couple of million people are treated every year for injuries arising from ordinary sports like basketball, football, soccer, baseball, softball, rollers skating, volleyball, and swimming. A friend of mine hurt himself pretty bad playing tennis.

A particularly revealing factoid is that literally tens of thousands of people are injured every year playing golf. It’s a really low-stress sport, but the players are often old or in poor health and therefore easily injured.

That’s the key insight: What so many sports enthusiasts have in common—whether they’re 70-year old golfers walking in the grass, incredibly physically fit young people who climb mountains, or the hodge-podge of people who ran in Sunday’s marathon—is that they are pushing the performance of the human body up against its limits. Often several limits at once. And sometimes the body breaks. That’s what limits are.

That’s what sports are.

 

I don’t really understand sports much. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes:

Please don’t take it out on this team, and please don’t take it out on quarterback Rex Grossman.

And now that they’ve lost this Super Bowl, the last thing we need to do as fans is to keep pressing down on them some more. It’s not honorable, and it’s not worthy.

If he means we shouldn’t be too hard on the players, I guess I can understand that. I assume they each played the best they could.

But shouldn’t the Bears have had players whose best was just a little bit better?

Look, someone’s got a beat-down coming. If I’ve researched this right, the new stadium for the Bears was funded with $387 million dollars in public funds from the Chicago area. For that kind of dough, we should at least get the bragging rights that come from hosting a Superbowl winner.

Somebody owes us. Big time.

And somebody ought to pay.

As regular readers know, I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon—over 1700 images—and I think I covered 10 to 20% of the field of runners. I’ve posted all these Chicago Marathon images at SmugMug.

The photos are sorted into chronological order based on the camera’s timestamp and separated into six galleries of roughly 300 images. The middle part of the name of each photo is the timestamp (e.g. CM_102351_0321 means 10:23:51), so if you calculate when you passed my location you can look for your picture.

Chinatown
Larger ImageChinatown

I was waiting just after the giant pagoda thing you see in all the pictures of Chinatown. I’ve mapped the location on Google Maps or (if you have it) Google Earth.

That’s a few blocks before the 35 kilometer timing point. So if you or someone you know ran in the race, you can lookup their times (by bib number or name) at the Chicago Marathon results page. Add the elapsed time to the starting time (nominally 8 am) to get the time they reached the 35km point, then knock off a few minutes to get the rough time they passed my camera.

Here are quick links to the galleries based on when the runner reached my location:

Earliest Latest Gallery
9:04:59 am
(when I got there)
10:45:02 am
7:43 pace
race time 3h 22m
Gallery 1
Everything
Highlights
10:45:04 am
7:43 pace
race time 3h 22m
11:05:19 am
8:40 pace
race time 3h 47m
Gallery 2
Everything
Highlights
11:05:20 am
8:40 pace
race time 3h 47m
11:37:20 am
10:09 pace
race time 4h 26m
Gallery 3
Everything
Highlights
11:37:21 am
10:09 pace
race time 4h 26m
11:51:13 am
10:48 pace
race time 4h 43m
Gallery 4
Everything
Highlights
11:51:15 am
10:48 pace
race time 4h 43m
12:05:36 pm
11:29 pace
race time 5h 00m
Gallery 5
Everything
Highlights
12:05:40 pm
11:29 pace
race time 5h 00m
12:32:36 pm
12:44 pace
race time 5h 34m
Gallery 6
Everything
Highlights

All photos are the unretouched, uncropped 10MP JPEGs right from the camera. You can order prints right off that page if you want, but you can also download the original full-resolution image by clicking the “save photo” link. Even if you appear small in the frame, at this resolution you should be able to get a nice picture by cropping in on yourself using any photo editing software.

Let me know if I got you.

[These photographs may be used freely for non-commercial purposes (blog ads are okay) provided credit is given to Mark Draughn at http://www.windypundit.com. For other uses, please contact me.]

[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. I posted the first batch Monday evening, the second batch Tuesday morning, the third batch Tuesday evening, the fourth batch Wednesday evening, and the fifth batch Thursday afternoon.

This is the sixth and final batch.

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[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. I posted the first batch Monday evening, the second batch Tuesday morning, the third batch Tuesday evening, and the fourth batch Wednesday evening. Here are some more.

This late in the race, we’re starting to see more oddities.

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[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. I posted the first batch Monday evening, the second batch Tuesday morning, and the third batch Tuesday evening. Here are some more.

(more…)

[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. I posted the first batch Monday evening and the second batch Tuesday morning. Here are some more.

At this point in the race, about 11:00 am, I’ve pretty much given up on anything resembling photographic composition, and I’m just trying to include as many runners as I can, so that I’ll have pictures of a lot of people.

The crowd in these pictures may look pretty thick, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s going to get crazy.

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[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

I shot a whole bunch of photos of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. I posted the first batch Monday evening. Here are some more.

That picture is the answer to yesterday’s riddle about why some guys take off their shirts.

Cold weather + 3 hours of rubbing fabric = bleeding nipples

Sorry you had to see that. (And sorry to Joel for showing it, but he pressed on to a respectable 3:12 finish.)

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[Note: The archive of all the photos is hosted at smugmug. I explain at the bottom of this post how to download pictures of yourself if I got you.]

Chinatown
Larger ImageChinatown

I just spent about 4 hours standing around in the cold damp weather and my feet are pretty sore. But I know 40,000 people who have no sympathy for me. I was taking pictures at the Chicago Marathon.

I decided to hang out in Chinatown, in the area just after the runners turned off of Cermak onto southbound Wentworth. I had scouted this out earlier and knew I’d be able to drive in and out of the area without having to cross the marathon course.

I was hoping to get a picture of John Ruberry, the Marathon Pundit, but I was unable to spot him in the pack. I had signed up for runner tracking, but only got a text message when he passed the 15km mark. After that, nothing. If I got him, I got him by accident.

I’d never seen a marathon before. It’s pretty cool to watch. For a while, you just stand around with nothing to do.

First Vehicle Wave
Larger ImageFirst Vehicle Wave

Then the first wave of escort vehicles comes through.

Wheelers
Larger ImageWheelers

Then the leading wheelchair competitors come through.

Wheels are a far more energy efficient transportation mechanism than legs, so they’re way ahead of the runners. In fact, it’s wheelchairs for several minutes.

Fast Chair
Larger ImageFast Chair
More Wheelers
Larger ImageMore Wheelers

As you can see, I picked such a good observation point that the credentialed media are starting to gather in front of me, blocking my view.

Wheeler v.s. Camera
Larger ImageWheeler v.s. Camera

Then the second wave of escort vehicles arrives.

Pacing for the Leaders
Larger ImagePacing for the Leaders

And…at last, a glimpse of some runners.

First Runners
Larger ImageFirst Runners

These are the frontrunners. For these guys, the Chicago Marathon isn’t a proud personal achievment, it’s not a struggle for personal betterment. For these guys, it’s a race.

Cheruiyot, Njenga, Muindi, and Abdi
Larger ImageCheruiyot, Njenga, Muindi, and Abdi

Those are the frontrunners, who finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, although they were a bit more spread out by the end. Cheruiyot’s finish must have been amazing:

As he approached the finish tape on the cold, blustery, damp day, Cheruiyot thrust out his right arm and briefly wagged a finger signaling that he was No. 1. Then, as he spread both arms wide and his winning time of 2 hours 7 minutes 35 seconds was about to register on the clock, Cheruiyot stepped on a race decal, skidded and went down on the red finish mat, hitting the asphalt hard.

Though he never broke the ceremonial banner, Cheruiyot slid forward past the finish line to guarantee an official finish.

The fall knocked him unconscious, and he has no memory of sliding past the finish line to win the race.

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