The Chicago Marathon has a climate problem. Three out of the last four years the weather has been unseasonably warm but it didn’t stop all Run SMART clients from setting new personal bests. Temperatures were in the 80’s, which made it feel like a hot summer day and unfortunately, many runners weren’t able to reach their potential in such gruesome conditions. Ideally, you want temps 25-30 degrees cooler. On a positive note, Run SMART clients Erin Strout, Bettina Toner and Charlie Hartel still managed to set personal bests.
Bettina came to Chicago with a 4:36:37 marathon PR and dropped a whopping 25 minutes to finish in 4:11:06!!! Her coach, Mike Smith, had a few words after the race, “I was very happy to see Bettina PR by such a large amount even despite the conditions this year in Chicago. This was only Bettina’s second marathon, and her first real attempt at the distance because her only other marathon was run with bronchitis. Her training was very consistent for Chicago this year, almost flawless. Her long runs and workouts were going great and we knew she would PR in Chicago, the question was by how much. I think the positive for someone like Bettina is leaving this race knowing she will still run much faster in the future.”
Erin came into the weekend with a PR of 3:27:40, set this past April in Boston. Incredibly, under terrible conditions, she dropped over 8 minutes off her best and finished in 3:19:22 (7:48 per mile)! Her coach Mike Smith added, “Erin’s race was very telling in how far she has come now that she is healthy. To PR by 8 minutes in that kind of heat says she was ready for even faster running. It will be exciting to see her to bring her time down even more. This race was a long time coming for her and I was so happy to see her push through and have a satisfying performance after the work she has put in. The fitness I am seeing from her now says to me that she can PR in every distance she attempts, there are definitely good things to come.”
More from their proud coach, “Both athletes are fine examples of what I consider to be an essential quality in successful running, which is the ability to still give your best despite imperfect conditions. You train for months for this one race, wake up, and it’s calling for 85 degrees, what do you do? That’s an opportunity to give up, or back down, and neither did. They pushed through, kept their heads, and gave their best despite the conditions. If you can learn to do that every time there isn’t much that can stop you from getting the most out of yourself.”
Last but not least, Charlie Hartel came into the weekend with a 3:33 PR from London this past April and was able to drop another 5 minutes off his best. His official time was 3:28:31. Charlie has made huge breakthroughs in his training this year so we look forward to seeing him drop even more time soon under much COOLER conditions. Charlie works with Coach Vince Sherry.
Congrats to everyone who finished under such challenging conditions.