Sunday, October 11, was the Chicago marathon. A marathon weekend in any city is exciting because of the energy and the surge of international tourists - Chicago happens to be one of the 5 Major marathons of the world (along with Boston, London, Berlin, and New York City) and so there are a lot of international tourists in town. I sat next to an older French couple on the CTA Saturday, they were not talking until we stood up to get off at the same stop. I heard them speak and I turned to smile and say that I recognized their language and I’ve been studying French for over a year. They laughed and seemed genuinely delighted that I was so excited to hear French and that I was happy I understood what they said.
It is fun to walk around the city in the few days before and observe the influx of people who are in town to run you can spot them because they’re in running shoes, and depending on the weather a jacket, hoodie, or t-shirt from another race. We runners like to connect with one another that way, seeing what other people have run, striking up conversations, and admiring the cool swag from other races so that we know what is offered and what to put on our running bucket lists.
I think my favorite thing about running international races is that no matter where you go, the spectators always show up. Some people may not even know the exact distance of a marathon, but they will cheer on the runners with enthusiasm and bring their A-game cheerleader skills. Running is truly a global community, and one that I love belonging to whether I am at home, traveling for fun or work, or traveling for a race. My love for travel and running only makes my destination races more exciting and special for me.