In his Chicago Marathon debut, Kenyan Moses Mosop made it look easy as he set a new course record with Sunday's win. Despite nursing an Achilles tendon injury, the 26-year-old ran the race in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds, breaking the record set by men's champion Sammy Wanjiru who died in a fall at his home in May.
"When I was 100 percent, maybe I could run it in 2:02," Mosop said.
While Mosop's fellow countrymen captured second and third places, American Ryan Hall hoped to set a Chicago course record after setting an unofficial American record at the Boston Marathon.
"Third best time -- I'm pleased with it," Hall said. He placed 5th in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
On the women's side, two-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia became the first three-peat winner in the race's history, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 20 seconds.
"I'm so happy with my timing, my result," Shobukhova said.
Another course record was shattered when Kurt Fearnley shaved off 31 seconds to win the men's wheelchair race in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Some 45,000 runners from more than 100 countries were registered for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The 26.2-mile course snakes through 29 neighborhoods, including Lincoln Park and Pilsen. Marathon organizers are also estimating a record number of spectators, and that this year's marathon had the second highest number of finishers in event history.
The marathon remains popular with novice runners and elite marathoners alike.
"A couple of my friends are big runners and they convinced me to do it this year," said first-time marathon runner Megan Lagesse.
"I'm so excited. This is my big marathon of the year for this year," said marathon runner Jeff Wells of Louisville, Ky.
Some runners participated in the marathon for a different reasson. Chad Hagen, for instance, ran for his children's babysitter Gabby Drozdz, who was killed in a hit and run.
"I just want to raise more money for Illinois CrimeStoppers to try to help the cause and get the word out to try to catch whoever did this," Hagen said.
For one pair of runners, crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon had a truly life-changing end. Kevin Kay proposted to his girlfriend Amy Meehan after they completed the race. Kay carried the ring in a box for the entire 26.2 miles.
"We got to the finish line and I felt him tug on my hand, and I said 'Come on.' I turned around and he was down on one knee with a box," Meehan said.
"The box was completely sweaty," Kay said.
While the weather wasn't ideal for runners it was perfect for spectators.
"I think it's important to be a part of this because it's about community that gets people through their race," said marathon spectator Malika Stevenson.
"I'm wearing my most garish outfit. I don't normally dress like this," said marathon spectator Eric Engdahl.
"I'm here for my husband and team RISE. Marty Howe, go!" said marathon spectator Kathy Howe.
Some marathon runners did face medical issues, and one runner died. William Caviness, 35, was a firefighter from North Carolina.