Thirty years ago, I ran my first marathon. Today, I am running my 25th, and last, Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
In 1988 I was one of about 4,500 entrants. The weekend marathon expo was held in a downtown Chicago hotel and featured a small merchandise table. On race day, I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the official start. Along the course, there were many pockets of cheering spectators, but there were also plenty of desolate areas. The finish line area had a few sponsor booths. You finished and you went home.
A lot has changed over the years. This year, there are 45,000 runners. The weekend expo is held at McCormick Place, with dozens of vendor booths. The official marathon merchandise area is huge and offers everything possible adorned with the marathon logo.
On race day, we are required to arrive two hours prior to the start and are shuttled into corrals based on previous years’ times. The course has spectators pretty much along the entire 26.2 miles, with a few booths featuring sponsors, media or other live entertainment. The city really comes alive, and the support really helps runners. There is also an app that allows anyone to follow a runner’s progress.
The finish line area is another big celebration, featuring more entertainment, food and vendors. No matter how sore and tired you are, crossing the finish line and enjoying the festivities always gives you a second (or third) wind.
There is a huge business impact on marathon weekend. Hotels, restaurants and bars, especially downtown, see a big boost in revenue.
I have trained harder than ever, but I am also older. It’s going to be a slow run and probably a wet one, which makes it exponentially worse. Although I am determined to finish, there are many things that can affect a runner’s success.
No matter what happens, I will have fun. I plan on taking selfies with friends along the course. Of course, I will also report right back here in two weeks.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Seats on new JetBlue flights between New York City (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO), Guyana, are now available for purchase. The route takes off April 2, 2020, on the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. With a flight time of five hours from New York City, the route delivers intrepid travelers to what JetBlue calls “a playground for adventurists and modern-day explorers.” The route also serves the largest Guyanese American community in the United States, located in New York City.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
An industry-first update to the award-winning Four Seasons app allows guests to plan travel more seamlessly. The app, completely overhauled, now includes a new trip planning itinerary feature that allows guests to easily customize their stay.