Runners readying for Chicago Marathon

October 11, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Many runners arrived Friday night for this weekend's Chicago Marathon and one of the first things they encountered was long lines at both airports at the new Ventra transit card kiosks.

Runners were also lining up at McCormick Place to pick up race packets at the health and fitness expo.

The deadline for that is 6 p.m. Saturday, and as part of the new security changes, runners are being given clear bags for their belongings.

On Sunday, runners can only enter Grant Park through designated security checkpoints.

The marathon will start in Grant Park on Columbus Drive Sunday morning shortly after 7 a.m.

Runners will travel as far north as Addison, west to Damen Avenue and as far south as West 35th Street. The marathon ends back at Grant Park.

Among the group of 45,000 runners that are signed up are a big chunk of runners running for something other than their own personal time goal, they're running for charity. Along the way, they will raise millions of dollars.

Jenn Gibbons knows all about endurance. After her 1,500 mile solo journey in a row boat around the perimeter of Lake Michigan last summer she raised about $150,000 for breast cancer survivors.

This summer she decided to combine a rowing marathon with a running one. She rows 26.2 miles Saturday and then Sunday laces up the running shoes with several others for her charity, ROW, which stands for Recovery on Water.

"It's rooted in research that shows that exercise reduces the incidence of cancer by 50 percent, so the whole program is focused on getting survivors exercising and moving," Gibbons said.

The good cause is central to Erica Gachoka's marathon plans as well. The Kenya native had never run even a half marathon before deciding to try to raise money and awareness for Bloodlink, which recruits blood donors in her country.

"This isn't for me. It's not for me to lose weight, it's not for me to win a medal, it's literally for other people, it's for my country. That's the best motivator out there," Gachoka said.

Lee Ann Yanni is also running for a cause, in honor of her father who died of cancer a year ago.

Since then however she also was seriously injured in the bombing of the Boston Marathon. But she's not letting that stop her. With her support from a friend she plans to run Sunday, and finish.

"If I have to jump on someone's back, if I need to skip, if I need to crawl," she said.

If you would like to cheer on Yanni, or any of the other runners, probably the best bet is do it somewhere along the course. Getting into the finish line area will be very difficult and if you do not have a ticket it will be near impossible.

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