Six “Chicago Athlete” Ambassadors Conquer the Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon -- 10/9

You never know what conditions Chicago will throw at you, but last Sunday, the Windy City welcomed 45,000 runners with perfect marathon weather. Clear skies and a tick over 40 degrees made this marathon one to remember for everyone who toed the start line.

Here’s what our six Chicago Athlete ambassadors had to say about a beautiful day to run 26.2.

Mandi Florip

This is the third time I have run the Chicago Marathon and I finished with my second fastest marathon time. The most memorable part for me was stopping to see my family at mile 13.1. I generally don’t stop in races, but needed to take off a layer of clothing. It was incredibly refreshing to stop moving for a minute and take in a few hugs!

I did not run Chicago last year and missed it so much! I love seeing all of the crowds and volunteers out there cheering on complete strangers, proving once again, that the City of Chicago knows how to support athletes. It’s amazing to be able to share a 10 second moment with a total stranger who is yelling words of encouragement, which always seem to come right when you need them. The smiles, cheers, and high fives drove me through the second half of the race, once the fatigue began to set in. And, there is just something about having a finish line volunteer open a bottle of water for you. Thanks, Chicago, for another amazing year!

Suzuka Hetterich

This is Chicago #6 and marathon #11 for me.  I was injured and forced to take almost 15 weeks off from running.I was nervous and felt unprepared.  But no matter how many miles you ran or how many weeks you trained, I never felt I was ready to conquer 26.2 before any of my 11 marathons.  So I promised myself to give all to this race and to finish the race without any regrets.   When the race became tough, I relied on spectators and volunteers.  They are the world class cheerleaders in my opinion. I am looking forward to have many more privileges to run BOA Chicago Marathon.

Megan Sloan

This was my second Chicago marathon. I ran my first Chicago marathon in 2011. The best part of the day for me was spotting my husband and brother out on the course many times amongst the sea of people. It was like the 3 of us knew when we needed to lock eyes, because we always found each other (about 5 different times). I love that the Chicago marathon offers 26.2 miles of culture and a fun party atmosphere. From the drag queens in Boystown, the crowds 20-plus deep in the loop, the Green Guys at the 8K Mark, the massive party in Pilsen complete with homemade Mexican food, to the human dragon in Chinatown. You don’t see that at every race! And of course, it wouldn’t be Chicago without a little wind!

Alex Sterczek

This is the fourth marathon I have volunteered for. I have never run it yet. The most memorable part was watching the elites go by. They look faster in person than when watching these races on television. Volunteering on the sidelines I did see a few weird things that make you go….hmmmm!

  • I saw a runner carrying their own gallon-sized bottle of water. As they jogged by me near the 18-mile mark I could see that it was almost full. I wonder if they were a first-timer and did not know that water/gatorade was available on the course.
  • I saw a guy running with one shoe. He was not carrying anything in his hands so I can only surmise that he lost it on the course and just kept going.
  • I saw runners dressed up as KISS rock band members, as a giant bumblebee, as Spiderman, as Wonderwoman, as a gladiator, and an alligator.
  • But the strangest thing were two guys who ran by each holding and eating a large slice of pizza. They caught my eye because one was carrying a pizza box in his other hand. I’m guessing that someone handed them the pizza as they ran through Little Italy. I can’t help but wonder if they picked up any egg rolls or won-tons as they ran through Chinatown.

That’s Chicago for you. You gotta love it.

Teri Lynn Visovatti

This was my second Chicago Marathon. I love whenever you look around you can see at least a dozen or more charity runners. This is amazing when you think about the fact that everyone likely had to raise at least $1000. I was not trained as well as I should have been as I some health issues over the summer but was on my way back! I set a plan in place for the race and stuck to it and surprised myself!

It’s my city! I love it. The roads I travel on daily and now closed off and I am running with people from all over the world with 1.7 million people cheering us all on! It’s amazing having so many friends out there on course with me, as well as spectating. Even people that have zero interest in running, coming out to cheer! It’s really a big thing!

Fredricka Holloway

This is the 3rd Chicago Marathon that I have volunteered for. I’m a triathlete, but love seeing people race the marathon and to support my friends and other runners. Running with and supporting/cheering on Valerie Butron, who was running her first marathon, was memorable. At mile 20, her face looked like she was in agony because her Achilles had been hurting and her legs were cramping. For the next 6 miles, to see her despite the pain, fulfill on her dream & goal of completing this race was moving and inspiring. Being able to see so much of my hometown in a unique way, the people, the north, west loop, and south sides, a variety of those from afar appreciating and experience the uniqueness of Chicago all at this one event…is truly special!



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