All over social media, people are complaining about 2016 and are looking forward to it ending. Generally, I agree; the news this year was more depressing than ever and, frankly, just weird. From Harmabe to Pokemon Go to Brexit, things were downright wacky, and the election was its own breed of news. But, the endurance world saw a much different, and much more positive, 2016.
Our Top 15 Stories of 2016 basically summarizes the big events from the last year; our number one story was the stairs added at Swallow Cliff, followed closely by the lockers at Ohio Street Beach. Just last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the separation of bike and pedestrian trails on the lakefront path, and despite the number of cyclist deaths, Chicago was named the most bike-friendly city in the United States. All of this shows that there’s no greater time to be a Chicago athlete.
Competitively, athletes were in the spotlight in 2016, especially with it being an Olympic year. Locally, there were 25 competitors from Illinois in the Olympics, including Geneva-resident Ben Kanute in the triathlon and swimmer Connor Dwyer from Winnetka who won two medals in Rio. Even though race participation continues to drop, races in the Chicagoland area are plentiful, and companies such as RAM Racing are more successful than ever. I think 2016 will be recognized as the pivotal year that brought racing back to the forefront.
And although baseball isn’t an endurance sport, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series this year, so who could say 2016 totally stunk?
Personally, 2016 was very good to me; it is every college senior’s dream to have a job lined up when they walk across the stage at graduation, and I was lucky enough to have that sense of relief in May when I graduated from Illinois State University. If you’ve followed my columns since I started, you know that I’ve always been a runner, but this job has allowed me to explore my love of running much more. I’ve tried new kinds of races, ran my first half marathon without walking, and have become much more savvy in running gear (borderline spoiled).
Not only has this job made me a better athlete, but it’s made me a better journalist. In college, I never really immersed myself in sports journalism, so I was definitely nervous coming into this job. I’ve learned to write for a very specific niche publication and audience, which coming from a general news newspaper, can be difficult. However, I’ve made sure to take every opportunity given to me, and I’ve loved it. I am grateful for what I’ve learned, and am excited to see what the future as Editor in Chief of Chicago Athlete holds.
Speaking of the future, there are two big anniversaries in 2017 that are worth acknowledging: it’s both Chicago Athletes 30th Anniversary, and will be the 40th Annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon! We also have our biggest ambassador team yet, and they are all so enthusiastic and passionate about endurance sports, I can’t wait for the season to begin.
My 2017 resolution is try a triathlon; like many people, I am intimidated by the swimming portion, but I am making it my goal to at least test the waters. After ringing in the new year this weekend, I hope everyone joins me and starts working towards their resolutions so come race season, we are all wide-eyed and bushy tailed.