This past weekend, Oiselle had around 100 Volée racing the Chicago Marathon, and many more coming from near and far to cowbell and support our team. As Chicago runners, we’re biased --this event is our favorite weekend of the year. So many different people representing so many different cultures unite to race with 1.5 million of our closest friends coming out for the day screaming, cowbelling, coming out to cheer. It’s one of the few days of the year where we all feel unified. 

But we didn’t want to recap this in our own words, so we asked a few of our teammates who came to celebrate this weekend with us their thoughts on the 2018 Chicago Marathon Weekend.


I’d return to the Chicago Marathon because...

  • The special edition free beer at the finish line!! - Kim from Hobart, Indiana
  • It was amazing crowd support. As a back of the pack runner I am used to passing the back half of the race with empty streets, but Chicago comes out to support EVERYONE all day. Seeing the IL Volée who stayed well into the afternoon and saw me at mile 26 was so uplifting and carried me to the finish.  - Ally from Savannah, Georgia
  • It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a road marathon! Each neighbor was filled with excitement, sharing its special flavor along the course, making the miles fly by! - Courtney from Muskegon, Michigan (@hansenca)
  • The beer at the finish line makes great shower beer. - Wendy from Redlands, California 


A highlight of the weekend was…

  • Seeing all of the people from so many different countries! - Stacy from Lisle, Illinois
  • Meeting my fellow birds. It was so good to see friends face to face and make that connection. - Sara from Birmingham, Alabama 
  • I loved getting to meet so many fellow birds in real life and fangirl on famous runners. - Marci from Atlanta, Georgia 
  • Meeting fellow volée, both local & out of state. Some of them I’ve just met in person even though previously connecting via social media. It was inspiring & refreshing to have these connections who you know will support you! - Melody from Chicago, Illinois
  • Running with my sister on her first marathon & then getting a 20 minute PR for myself!  - Heidi from Seattle, Washington
  • I couldn’t make it to any of the formal Oiselle meet ups, but a highlight for me was still meeting other Birds along the way! Anytime I ran into someone (at the expo, around town, or (best of all) on the course), it was instant camaraderie and support. I have seen this at smaller races too, but in Chicago it was even better, because it made a gigantic race feel that much more personal and supportive. - Kelly from Rochester, New York
  • EVERYTHING! Chicago digs deep and opens up the city to runners (especially first time marathoners like me!). Seeing teammates along the course was amazing! And getting engaged at the end was the icing on the cake to the weekend! - Grace from Clarkston, Michigan


The biggest piece of advice I’d give someone running the Chicago Marathon in the future is…

  • Make sure your long runs are flat flat flat. - Alissa from Wadsworth, Ohio 
  • Arrive at the corrals even earlier than you think because it is chaotic and crowded and you have to go through a security checkpoint. - Jessica from Chicago, Illinois 
  • To come even if you’re not running. This weekend is peak happiness. You get amazing time with incredible women, on and off the course. Cowbelling is on the list of Olympic sports, this is a great time to explore your ability to medal in it! - Cyanne from Nashville, Tennessee 
  • The crowds are going to carry you; the cheers, the signs, the energy, the sheer mass of people, it's the city of Chicago opening its arms to you. - Angela from Chicago, Illinois 

To all who were in town this weekend, thank you for sharing our favorite weekend of the year with us. And to those considering 2019, we look forward to celebrating with you here!

Ali, Beth, Em, Jen, Kim, and Kristine
The @ilvolee Leader Crew


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Racing - Races
Allyson Ely