Chicago Marathon: Pre-Race Thoughts

I’ve spent the past 13 weeks training for a singular purpose: the Chicago Marathon.  During that time, I have logged more than 1,500 miles, on various Mizuno shoes, to prepare for the opportunity to become a better marathoner.  And this coming Sunday morning is when all of that preparation meets opportunity.

There really are few better places in the world to train during the summer months than Oregon.  Cool, sunny mornings make getting out the door every morning for those hard workout sessions and long runs incredibly tolerable.  The last 3 months of training have me more excited than ever to race a marathon.  My confidence is bolstered as a result of the quantity and quality of the workouts and runs I’ve completed during this training period.  I’m so much stronger and fitter than I was coming into last year’s Chicago marathon, which was shown by last tune-up race: a solo effort 64:39 half marathon win at Medford.  I would not have been able to do that a year ago.

Weeks to go
















































But being a successful marathoner takes more than just having a few good months of training.  It’s about being able to string together several of these types of training blocks.  Fortunately, I’ve been building on the successes of each previous segment ever since moving to Eugene and my race performances reflect this.  In the time since running last year’s Chicago Marathon, I have won a marathon, setting a course-record en route, finished 10th place at the Boston Marathon in a personal best time, and have lowered my half marathon PR by nearly a full minute.

I owe a lot of my successes these past two years to my support team.  When you find yourself not worrying about some of the trivial day-to-day doldrums and surround yourself with positive people and influences, you can focus completely on the things that lead to better performances.  So thank you, better yet, a million thank yous to Mizuno; Team Run Eugene; Cooperative Performance and Rehabilitation; Michael Donawa, LMT; Eugene Running Company; Garmin; ElliptiGO; and my family and friends.  You have all played a huge role in making an impossibly difficult task relatively easy.

2013 has easily been the best season of my running career.  It won’t be complete, however, without a great performance on Sunday.  I feel like all of the pieces – physical and mental – are in place to run a fast time and take another step forward in my career.  As I leave Eugene, I’m not putting any limits on how fast I can run.  I owe it to myself, and everyone who has supported me, to go for it.  What “it” is, I’m not sure.  But I know that come Sunday, I’ll be ready to go!

Finally, as many of you know, this race has become more to me than just another marathon.  I have partnered with to help raise money for the Richard family, whose lives were so deeply affected by the marathon bombings in Boston this past spring.  You can get involved by placing a charitybet on my performance.  The faster I run on Sunday, the more money we can raise.  With your help, and amazing generosity, over $3700 has been pledged as of Friday morning.  Additionally, I will be contributing $250 if I run under 2:18, $500 if I run under 2:15, and $1000 if I run under 2:13.

If you aren’t familiar with their story, 8-year-old Martin was killed in the blast, his 7-year-old sister lost her leg, his mother sustained brain trauma, and dad suffered hearing loss.  You can read more about how and why I got involved with this by reading my previous blog post.

As I mentioned in my interview with the Eugene Register-Guard last week, the Richard family’s recovery will be a marathon and I want them to know that we in the running community intend to be their on-course support. Please consider giving a small donation or placing a charitybet (performance-based donation) to help support this family as they continue to recover from this life-altering event.  The betting will close 15-minutes prior to the start of the race, which begins at 7:30 am CDT.


Important Race Info

There are several ways to keep track of me on Sunday.

  • You can sign-up to receive text message updates directly from the Chicago Marathon by going here.  Note, you must register by 11:00 pm CDT on Saturday, October 12.  I will be bib #28.
  • Thee Aadam Soorma

    Thee Aadam Soorma

    The best way to keep track of me will be to visit my twitter page, @cleonrun.  Once again, good friend, social media savant, and one-of-a-kind personality, Aadam Soorma will be on-site, live-tweeting splits and race happenings, as seen through his eyes.  Soorma, a former OU teammate of mine, provided the same entertaining services at the Boston Marathon in April and has graciously offered to do the same this weekend.

  • If you are more of a Facebook-type, you can head to the Team Run Eugene page.  Coach Ian Dobson will also be out on the course Sunday morning and will provide some updates as well.  That’s right, I finally get to introduce Mr. Dobson to the marathoning world!
  • Television coverage will be provided by the local NBC affiliate in Chicago.  They will be streaming the race live on Sunday morning.

One of the benefits of living and training in Eugene is that you are surrounding by very knowledgeable fans of the sport, both in the community and in the media.  I sat down with one of the sport’s best journalists, Curtis Anderson, before I left.  All bias put aside, he wrote a very nice piece on my how I’m feeling as I enter Sunday’s race.  You can read it here.

The forecast for Sunday is calling for mostly sunny skies, temps in the low 50s, with little wind out of the north.   If it holds, you’ll have 47,000 happy runners.









The 2013 Chicago Marathon elite roster

Elite athlete roster
(as of September 20, 2013)


Name                               Country                   Personal best                         Bib #

  • Moses Mosop                   KEN                   2:03:06                                     2
  • Dennis Kimetto                KEN                   2:04:16                                     3
  • Ayele Abshero                 ETH                   2:04:23                                      4
  • Emmanuel Mutai                KEN                   2:04:40                                 5
  • Sammy Kitwara                 KEN                   2:05:54                                     6
  • Tariku Jufar                  ETH                   2:06:51                                         7
  • Atsedu Tsegay                 ETH                   Debut                                         8
  • Dathan Ritzenhein             USA                   2:07:47                                   9
  • Mike Kigen                   KEN                   2:08:24                                     10
  • Yoshinori Oda                 JPN                   2:09:03                                     11
  • Micah Kogo                   KEN                   2:10:27                                     12
  • Zersenay Tadese               ERI                   2:10:41                                     13
  • Matt Tegenkamp                USA                   Debut                                     14
  • Merkebu Birke                 ETH                   Debut                                     15
  • Tesfaye Sendeku               ETH                   2:11:18                                     16
  • Michael Shelley               AUS                   2:11:23                                     17
  • Eliud Ngetich                 KEN                   2:11:59                                     18
  • Kenji Higashino               JPN                   2:12:13                                     19
  • Hiroaki Sano                  JPN                   2:12:14                                     20
  • Hirokatsu Kurosaki      JPN                   2:12:22                                     21
  • Yoshiki Otsuka                JPN                   2:12:51                                     22
  • Hiroki Tanaka                 JPN                   2:13:09                                     23
  • Norihide Fujimori             JPN                   2:13:11                                     24
  • Sean Quigley                  USA                   2:14:12                                     25
  • Mike Morgan                   USA                   2:14:22                                     26
  • Mike Sayenko                  USA                   2:14:27                                     27
  • Craig Leon                   USA                   2:14:38                                     28
  • Luke Humphrey                 USA                   2:14:39                                     29
  • Matt Dewald                   USA                   2:17:42                                     30
  • Chris Pannone                 USA                   2:18:05                                     31
  • Stephen Muturi                USA                   2:18:15                                     32
  • Eric Loeffler                 USA                   2:18:36                                     33
  • Chris Siemers                 USA                   2:18:48                                     34
  • Brandon Mull                  USA                   2:19:21                                     35
  • Dastaho Svench                ISR                   2:20:07                                     36
  • Dan Kremske                   USA                   Debut                                     37
  • Jared Ward                   USA                   Debut                                     38
  • Pius Nyantika                 KEN                   2:15:50                                     39
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    Comments (1)

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      Martyn Linsdell


      Just saw you sliced nearly a minute off your PB with a 2.13. Great work Craig! Two guys inside 2.04 on the day, is 2.03 now the expected standard for a world class marathon runner? That’s insane. Only a few years ago it was 2.07.


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