Runners, spectators gather for Chicago Marathon

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of runners and an estimated one million cheering spectators lined the city's streets Sunday for this year's Chicago Marathon.

PHOTOS: Chicago Marathon 2015

Kenyan Dixon Chumba won the men's division with an unofficial time of 2:09:30. Kenyan Florence Kiplagat won the women's division with an unofficial time of 2:23:30.

Runners from all 50 states and 100 countries gathered for the 26.2-mile race, which began with the elite running group at 7:30 a.m. in Grant Park.

VIDEO: Running couple marries during Chicago Marathon

Sarah Brown is a little sore but happy after completing her first marathon with her dad running by her side.

"Painful but exciting at the same time," she said. "It was just an awesome moment."

The south suburban resident was one of the roughly 45,000 runners who crossed the finish line of the of the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Runners stepped off early Sunday morning in Grant Park then traversing the 26.2-mile course which wound through 29-city neighborhoods before finishing up on Columbus Drive, all under the watchful eyes of spectators cheering on family, friends or anyone needing encouragement.

"It's important to have really funny signs just to get the motivation up," said spectator Nam Pham.

While most of us will never run a marathon, those that do say the thrill of accomplishment far outlast the personal and physical sacrifice.

"It does hurt, but life is too short to do nothing," said runner Joe Butler. "After the first mile I was so proud."
American Deena Kastor, who won the Chicago Marathon 10 years ago, earned an American women's master's record with an unofficial time of 2:27:47.

Despite the heat, this year's event was particularly important for many elite runners hoping to qualify for the 2016 Oympic Games in Rio. Defending wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden won her fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon and is headed to Rio.
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