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About Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon:

14th Sep 2008

The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon has reached its limit of 16,500 spots for this Sunday's race and registration has closed. It will be the largest field ever for the race, now in it's twelth year, and its first year with new race owners U.S. Road Sports & Entertainment Group.

The Sunday, Sept. 14 race will sport a record field includes racers ranging in age from16 years-old to 77 year-old. Female racers make up more than half of all registrants at 63 percent; male racers make up 37 percent of the field. As a combined group, the racers represent 48 states, with Illinois runners representing nearly three-quarters of the
field and 28 countries with Canada providing the most international runners. More than 45,000 spectators are expected to come out to cheer the racers along the 13.1 mile course.

The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon is one of the ten largest half marathons in the country according the Running USA and was recognized previously in Runner's World as atop ten half marathon in the country.

My experience :

I wished myself in the morning of 14th Sept 2008 for successful completion of the Half Marathon. For me this is one of the practice run for the main Marathon which will be held on 12th Oct 2008. The day before race everyone was doubting about the race due to the heavy rain expected. Which triggered my senses too! Since I will have to travel some distance away from my house(downtown to South of Lakeshore drive near Jackson Park). I thought I will get the taxi on time but I was strangled for 15 min for taxi and hence my heartbeat raised like what happened if I don't reach on time. I saw many runners driving to the destination too strangled in the traffic& on top of that the rain started heavily in between. I wished the race would have postponed for 30 min but all my thoughts went in vein. The taxi left me in the Jackson Park at around 7:45am by the time the raze had already started. I did 1 mile run on the muddy footpath against the race direction. I was watching everyone running I and I was running in the reverse direction in the rain. As soon I reach the start point I threw my carry bag in one of the medication tent's corner and at 8:00am almost 30 minutes after started the run. I tried to get into the mob as early as possible keeping my pace in control. After 3.5 miles I took one emergency break of 3-4 min this includes 2 min of waiting time.

Once I entered into the Mob I changed my pace running on the leftmost side on the running track. Everyone were running in the middle that gave me plenty of space to move faster than the mob. The last mile I increased my pace I think it was 9 miles per hour. I was feeling perfectly ok when I was sprinting to reach the Finish Line. Due to rain less people were there to cheer the mob though.

I felt so good since I finished in the expected time of 1 hr & 45 min. I would have save another 3-4 min too if I was on time. So this was a lesson to me in short to be on time for perfect race day preparation. So now onward 28 days remain for the main marathon (26.2 miles). Hoping the Best.

Luckily I got my carry bag at one corner where I left in the beginning. After the race was most painful time since I had to walk for another mile to find the bus stop without knowing which bus will take me to downtown. Then one of the traffic controlling person guided me which bus to take. I walked half the way back & many runners like me stranded for which bus to take since no taxi were running on the road except the runners car. Still many people were returning from the race & I was on the footpath waiting for the bus wearing my thermal cover to save body heat and with umbrella to avoid the rain. Saw many type of faces on the way I mean all ages. Also found some faces crying too, don't know what I didn't bother why since I was also shivering due to cold waiting for the bus. After almost 20 minutes go the bus jammed pack. I was the last to enter, by force pushed the front people to accommodate myself so that the bus door gets closed. Finally relieved when the bus started. That a free ride for me which was required since I lost money to the taxi more than expected and was having little money just enough for emergency since I was not carrying my cell phone too! Once I reached home asked my roomy to take one photo of myself with all running gear & a heavy medal of Half Marathon.

*** Best timings on 14th Sept 2008 13.1Miles in 1.44.52 in Chicago, Banco Popular Half Marathon 2008 .
*** Stood 2nd among the Indians as per the Indian's name counted out of total 55

Bib # 11307  |  Chicago, IL - USA  | 
START 5miles FINISH   Registered Total Male Female 1st Indian 2nd Indian 3rd Indian
08:00 39.42 01:44:52   16500 10489 4200 6289 1:38:17 1:44:52 1:45:53
TIME Chip Time: 1:44:42 Clock: 02:13:39 Pace: 8:01
Placement Overall: 931 Gender: 728 Division: 128

Written By: Rajan Rikame

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