23 Jun

It’s All Go Chicago!

Shona ThomsonI was beyond excited when I was offered the opportunity to run the 2015 Bank of America Chicago marathon with Sport Tours International, writes Shona Thomson. Alongside the Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo Marathons, it is one of the six World Marathon Majors. 

Ever since completing the Marathon Grand Slam (a marathon on every continent plus the North Pole marathon), I’ve had a niggling urge to tick off the Marathon World Majors. Having already completed London and New York, running Chicago takes me one step nearer to that goal.

For me, there is something special about the Bank of America Chicago marathon. Over the years, I’ve followed the colourful event with interest. One of the most exciting Chicago marathons was in 2006 when Robert Cheruiyot slipped just before he broke the finish tape. Luckily, he slid forward causing his timing chip to cross the finish line first, just seconds ahead of the runner up.
I’ve read so much about it, from the amazing crowd support, to the incredible course, to the flawless organisation, that I was inspired to experience first-hand the sparkle of this big city race. Although known for its fast flat course, which has produced four world records, several national records, and countless personal bests, I’m not running Chicago to get a fast time. I want to enjoy running through this magnificent city with 45,000 other runners and nearly 2 million spectators. 
The race will be run on 11 October 2015. Most people consider October to be a month in the autumn. However, apparently, in Chicago October is a month that contains two weeks of the year when it isn’t too hot, too cold or too rainy! I hope the organisers have picked the correct two week window! I also hope Chicago doesn’t live up to its reputation as the Windy City! 

I’m often asked why I love running overseas. In my opinion, running a marathon overseas is the ultimate way to see a location and explore a new city. For example, I’ve looked at the route and Chicago Marathon passes through 29 neighbourhoods and takes in sights such as Grant Park, Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park, Wrigley Field, Sears Tower and Michigan Avenue to name just a few. These are places I’ve always wanted to visit but seeing them whilst running a marathon adds a completely new dimension to the experience. 

I’ve got a lot of training to do between now and October. I’ve written my 16 week training plan, which officially starts on 22 June. Having recently come back from injury, I’ve been working on my base fitness over the last few months so I’m looking forward to building up the miles again. I love autumn marathons as they have the benefit of summer training so hopefully there will be less soakings on the road to Chicago!

If you would like to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, there are still limited places available through the Sports Tours International.