Chicago Marathon a 26.2-mile challenge for a good cause
Rakhi Thambi’s plan for this Saturday night: relaxation and a lot of eating. The UI Health otolaryngologist plans to be ready for Sunday, when she joins 45,000 other competitors in the Chicago Marathon.
This will be her third marathon. “I wanted to give myself a challenge,” she said.
Thambi leads the ENT Team, nine runners raising money for two causes their department supports — Now Hear This! and the One Voice Fund. “A bunch of people from the department were interested in the marathon, so I thought we should combine it with fundraising,” she said.
The Now Hear This! Fund provides educational resources and hearing aids to the Jamie Stuart Hearing Resource Center and Happy Ears on Taylor Street. The One Voice Fund raises money for voice prostheses.
The 2014 marathon will be the ENT Team’s second — the group raised $9,000 in 2012.
From her previous marathon experiences, Thambi knows how she will feel when she crosses the finish line: terrible.
“You just feel like you need to sit down,” she laughed. “You’re really happy that you’re done, but you’re happier to sit down.”
The Chicago Marathon’s 26.2-mile route covers 29 neighborhoods, including UIC stations at Mile 17, in front of Student Center East on Halsted Street, and Mile 18, near the corner of Ashland Avenue and Taylor Street.
UIC dance and cheer squads, men’s and women’s basketball players, the women’s softball team and UIC Pep Band will be cheering at Student Center East from about 7:45 a.m. to noon.
“It’s like a little party,” said Lindsey Lococo, the UIC spirit coordinator who will be there to support the runners for her fifth year. “We try to get everyone excited to be out there.”
Nandish Desai, a junior in bioengineering, and Ricky Bernsee, a senior in computer engineering, are running the Chicago Marathon for the first time.
Desai is raising money for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, which supports those with energy deficiencies at a cellular level. “I was looking through the list of charities that the Chicago Marathon had, and this one seemed like it got the least amount of attention,” said Desai, who ran cross-country and track and field in high school and still covers 14 to 15 miles every other day. Desai’s goal is to raise $1,000; so far he’s more than halfway there.
What’s his advice for marathon training? “Just start running,” he said.
Long-distance training is new to Bernsee, a student worker and computer specialist for Campus Auxiliary Services. “It’s taken a lot of time,” said Bernsee, who began training in early May. “It’s got its ups and downs.”
The “downs” include time management, recuperating from long runs and sticking to a healthy diet. “Nutrition is where I lack discipline because I love pizza,” he said.
Bernsee looks forward to Sunday with mixed emotions. “I’ve been scared about whether I can do it, and proud that I’ve actually gone this far,” he said. “There’s a good dichotomy to it.”