Wednesday, November 17, 2021
collage of runners after marathon

Another successful Chicago Marathon in the books for DMM. While this is no small feat, we reflect on some takeaways from a few of this year’s runners. 26.2 miles has come and gone through the city of Chicago again this October and it was completed after months of preparation.

The preparation began months before the race was completed. The max length ran from some of the dancers varied from 8 miles to a half marathon. No matter the training beforehand though, each runner stated that at some point in the race they thought about quitting. So, what kept them going? Karter said that the support along the way, especially when emerging from the first tunnel to a roar of cheering started the race off on the right note. Brian said that with the mile motivators on his arm, he remembered that the pain he was enduring was nothing in comparison to the kids at Stead. Amanda answered similar to Karter in that the support from the volunteers and crowd helped her keep pushing through the whole marathon. Mia felt that the mile motivators video was a huge help to keep her pushing and remembering why she was running the race. She even felt special connections to some of the families because they had been her miracle group family previously or heard them personally speak at a meeting. It also made her connection to the families grow with an excitement to share with them the empowerment and impact they had on her during the marathon. Without these famspirations and motivators, a marathon would be a lot harder to run. It also shows the runners the impact these families have on them during the marathon can parallel to the impact dance marathon has on these families year-round.

Another question we asked the runners was if staying up 24 hours for the Big Event or running the 26.2 miles was harder for them. It was unanimous towards running the marathon. The emphasis on the physical, but even more mental exhaustion felt throughout it was even harder for them. As they all felt the struggle through the race, they were still asked if they would run another marathon. With a little hesitation due to their muscles still being sore when asked this question, Amanda shared she would be willing to do another one and would even go past Chicago to run one in New York! Karter responded by saying he wouldn’t rule out another but would like to get more comfortable with shorter distances and then build back up to a marathon. Following the race, Mia would have absolutely not agreed to another marathon, but has warmed up to the idea as the days pass now.

Each runner shared a little insight into if others should run the race if they are unsure of their level of preparation. Amanda said that if you are even slightly on the fence about running, go for it. The money is raised for an amazing cause, and it will help you push yourself out of your comfort zone. She also stated a fun statistic that less than 1% of the world has done it and it is one of the most rewarding experiences that can be done for yourself and the dance marathon kiddos. Karter also shared to just "go for it" and a sign that pushed him to continue said "Someday, you won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day". The brain limits itself so much, so when thinking about all the reasons to not do something, instead think of all the reasons to do something. Overall, these dancers and runners shared the impacts dance marathon had on their experience in running a marathon and although there was the initial pain felt from the completion there is nothing but joy and happiness in completing the marathon now!

By: Riley Monteil, Public Relations Committee, DM 28