By Laura Pappano
Yes, we’ve heard the exciting Chicago Marathon results. Despite the heat (78 degrees according to my iPhone) Moses Mosop set a course record (2:05:37) and Liliya Shobukhova finished in 2:18:20, making it her third straight Chicago win, and her the second-fastest woman behind Paula Radcliffe who holds the women’s marathon record with a 2:15:25.
The elites commanded the headlines, but if you were in Chicago this past weekend – as I was to cheer on my 19-year-old daughter as she ran – you bore witness to the collision of two major cultural events: The Marathon and the Mourning of Steve Jobs.
It was impossible to miss pilgrimage to the Apple Store on North Michigan Ave. with it’s growing shrine of colored, handwritten post-its, flowers, candles (and, of course, apples) – juxtaposed against the running-shoe clad marathon throngs (45,000 runners!) prepping for their personal journeys.
The connection was in plain sight: Jobs has changed how we marathon.
From the iTunes playlists downloaded onto shuffles to the ability to track your runner or navigate a new city, Apple has altered the race. I saw it over and over yesterday as I joined the shadow marathoners – loved ones with neon posters, pomp-pons, clown wigs, (anything to catch an exhausted runners’ attention!) trying to spot runners at various points along the route.
Because Chicago has a looping course (unlike, say, Boston), it’s possible to pop on and off subways to cheer for your runner in multiple spots where CTA stops coincide with the marathon route. But the sheer volume of runners means that to know when your runner will be at any given spot, you rely on text messages to your smartphone.