Chicago Marathon a family affair for dad grad, student

Brian and Elaine Bottomley

Father-daughter running team Brian and Elaine Bottomley run the Chicago Marathon, chatting all the way. Brian is a ’93 alumnus; Elaine is a grad student.

Among the 45,000 runners in the Chicago Marathon, there were at least two who kept a steady pace together and enjoyed a five-hour conversation, making the 26.2-mile run seem a little less grueling.

Urban planning graduate student Elaine Bottomley ran her first marathon Sunday alongside her dad, Brian Bottomley, who graduated from UIC in 1993 with a master’s in civil engineering.

Sure, Brian — a 27-marathon veteran — had to slow his usual four-hour pace, but it was an experience the father-and-daughter running team won’t forget, Elaine said.

They crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 18 minutes.

“We talked the entire time,” Elaine said. “Being able to have someone to run with and talk to makes it go by a lot quicker, instead of focusing on things like, ‘Oh, my legs hurt.’”

What also helped pass the time was seeing landmarks such as the UIC campus.

“I saw CUPPA and said, ‘Oh look, that’s where I do homework,’” she said.

She was motivated by supporters in the crowd, including a friend from her master’s program who cheered and held a handmade sign that said “Elaine Bottomley kicks bottom.”

“It was really crazy to be surrounded by so many people,” she said. “And looking at the city, it gives you a great view of everything. Before I knew it, I looked up and it was Mile 20.”

Elaine, a runner since high school, began training this summer with her dad at their home in Joliet. When she came back to school, she trained by herself during the week but went home for two weekend runs.

The marathon bonding experience might not be their last.

“Once we were finished, my dad was like, ‘So what one are we going to do next?” Elaine said. 

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