Monday, 8 October 2007
5:30am start my kit bag is all packed, I am excited and raring to go! I head out into a dark Chicago but somehow the city has retained all its heat from yesterday! Volumes of concrete, avenues, streets, skyscrapers acting as heat retainers would have it say on the race day.
Loaded up with 3 litres of liquid! Mixture of nerves and giddiness about the start I arrive with 30,000 other runners to be welcomed by an amazing sunrise. The temperature is now rocketing.
You need to understand, I left London knowing this weekend was going to be hot. But by Friday race organizers must have known it was going to be the hottest marathon they ever ran! So bare that in mind.
The adrenaline fuelled start had everyone in high spirits but by mile three I had noticed how much people were sweating. Me, well it’s nearing 88 degrees and I am a giant pair of testicles! Clear to say I have never sweated so much in my life, by mile 5 I am doing really well. The volume of support was at times deafening, but it was my fellow runners who gave me the support I needed. “Go Mr Testicles, Go ball sack man!” The uncountable thumbs up and well done was very touching.
By mile 12 just on the half way line the numbers of people dropping out had me a bit concerned but as we approached mile 13, water had run out! The panic was not fully impacted; I kept hope that the next station would have the much needed fluid to power my muscles! But by the 14, 15 mile markers little or no water and no power drinks were available. Panic! It was the good people of Chicago who came to my rescue. Now I am lucky, people take pity on a large pair of testicles running a hot marathon! But total strangers were offering me their drinks, spectator offering their supplies, even a lovely lady buying drinks from the shops to hand out to runners!! Household of neighbours offering ice and drinks, My huge thanks to these good Samaritans and special thanks to Rob, Cris, Sam and the lovely lady. Thanks you because with the temperature now hitting 90 degrees it was getting deadly serious.
The lack of power drinks now causing serious concern with runners. The first aid post were now filled and by mile 17 race rumours spread that the race was cancelled! Now I did not fly 4,000 miles to not finish a Marathon! No one told me but by mile 18, 19 and 20 I’d seen no mile markers! We had been redirected! Fire hydrants were on full blast and had been since mile 13, now that’s all well and good for your average runner, but for a giant pair of testicles getting hit by one is like trying to carry someone. I weighted 40 lb heaver thanks to soaking of water and by mile 20, my weight in water and sweat was excusing! The race director had stopped the race. The temperature had spiked to over 90 degrees and the lack of water and power drinks had become a nightmare. The walk back to the line was a sombre, frustrating time.
Made worse by the pandemonium with 10,000 runners turning up at the opposite end of the park to where the finish line was!
No direction, no guidance, total confusion! I, like the rest, was getting a medal no matter what. We hit the faster finishers and their supporter in the middle of the park where there was a massive mix up of runners. My legs in the vast heat were going to buckle. After much shouting and finger pointing we marched down to the finish line in the wrong direction just to finish!
Frustrated, annoyed, hot, sticky, tired, sweaty and now in great deal of pain my marathon time 5 hours! Not bad considering I missed out 6.2 miles!
The race director made the right decision. 300 runners in hospital, and one person dead, My thoughts go to friends and families.
But with hindsight like I said at the start of the race officials knew it was going to be hot! Drinks should have been at every mile marker. The problem is Marathons are a great mix of professional, amateur and fun runners, that’s what makes the events so great, also that’s what makes it so dangerous!
I have proved that under extreme condition This ball bag can dig deep but not with out love and support from others.
My huge thanks to the people of Chicago for their love and support and looking after this giant sweaty nut sack on this hot, hot day, and to my all my fellow runners. Well Done!
Dont for a second let this put you off doing a Marathon. A Marathon is one of the most exciting things you can ever do! That start line buzz ,seriously could power a town there is that much energy.The people you meet, the laughs and the tears even the pain make you feel glad to be alive and that medal, ooooh is worth it. Ive met some amazing people on this journey, but that is the power of a Marathon.
Mr testicles x