Runners excited, nervous about Chicago Marathon

October 9, 2010 (CHICAGO) Fans were set to watch as the Stanley Cup banner is unveiled at the United Center. Then, a few hours later, tens of thousands of people will run to the finish line in the Chicago Marathon. Race crews put the final touches on the 26.2-mile course Saturday.

Several streets will be closed Sunday morning for the 45,000 registered runners from all across the Chicago area and the world. Thousands of spectators are also expected to line the route and cheer on the runners. The start line is at Columbus and Monroe.

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ABC7 Chicago spoke with several runners Saturday who said they were a little nervous ahead of the race and were doing everything they could to stay calm.

Those participating in the marathon are expected to gather near the start line at approximately 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Preparations were almost complete Saturday evening for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which is in its 33rd year.

Fences and barricades were going up Saturday, and the finish line was draped near the 11th Street bridge. The starting line was almost race-day ready, as well.

"The majority of Grant Park, Columbus Drive, is now closed," said race director Carey Pinkowski. "Overnight, we'll do the final touches of our staging area for the start. So, at about one o'clock in the morning, Columbus Drive will be completely closed."

The athletes couldn't be more excited. Thousands of them lined up all day Saturday to board a shuttle from the Chicago Hilton hotel to check in and pick up their race bibs at McCormick Place. Many of them admitted they had the jitters.

"I will probably go to bed around 9:30, to try to get plenty of sleep. I'm sure my nerves will prevent me from going straight to sleep," runner Nancy Colgrove said.

But lots of acitivites were planned Saturday for the runners. McCormick Place was hosting a health and fitness expo where runners could admire the race trophy and check out the latest technology and gear tailored for the sport.

The Hilton also fed many of the runners with a reservation-only pasta dinner-- the staple of a long-distance runner's diet.

Michael and Victoria Arnstein are a typical married marathon-running couple, who flew in from New York for the race.

" He got me into marathons," Victoria Arnstein said.

"We're always trying to figure out when we can go for a run and who's going to watch the kids because when we go for a run, it's quite a while. It's not just half an hour," said Michel Arnstein.

"I think the more kids you have, the longer you go for a run," Victoria Arnstein said.

Michael Arnstein will be one of the elite runners in the marathon. His qualifying time was 2 hours and 28 minutes.

He says strict preparation means everything.

"Hydrate and go slower," he said.

"And eat a lot of fruit," his wife added.

When asked how long the two of them had been married, both Michael and Victoria Arnstein laughed and said, "Too long!"

"Honey, we agree on something," Victoria Arnstein said.

Approximately 800 police officers are expected to be on the course Sunday, which will wind through dozens of Chicago neighborhoods. So, traffic, for many, will not be pretty.

The fastest runners are expected to cross the finish line around 10:30 a.m.

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