As I am not a Chicago Police Officer nor a Chicago Civil Engineer, the following suggestions on how to improve the Chicago Marathon are completely personal and without much hope of ever coming to fruition. Since this blog is dedicated to goals and visions of better things, why not make a suggestion or two, even if I am dreaming.
1. Reroute the course to utilize the lake front vistas, Lake Michigan looks like the ocean with infant waves and would go a long way to improving the scenic quality of the marathon. Running among the skyscrapers of Chicago is pretty neat, however looking straight up while running is not advised, unless you want to fall over or strain your neck. The view of the Chicago Skyline from Lakeshore is awesome and can take your mind off of the miles and the pain of the marathon.
2. Reroute the course away from the awful smells of underground awfulness. There are a few points on the course that excel in the area of stench. The pursuit of excellence in this area probably is not what the organizers had in mind. I assume that the stink cannot be turned off with a switch or blown away by a huge fan. Something should be done if at all possible.
3. Move the marathon to November. Heat is a marathon PR potential killer. The Midwest has been staying hotter later in the year. Cool or even cold weather is less of a bane on a distance runner than the opposite in temperature. Yeah, this proposal might conflict with the NYC Marathon, but both races are huge participation wise as they stand.
Really the Chicago Marathon is pretty darn great as is. The expo, course, after party and of course, the fans (all million plus of them) are all special. It is a treat to run with so many in a great city and then celebrate with friends both old ones and brand new ones made that day.