TEXT AND PHOTOS By Ross Forman
The male cheerleaders started their vocal support last Sunday, Oct. 9, long before the first runners reached the eight-mile mark, home of the Frontrunners/ Frontwalkers Chicago water station along Broadway in Lakeview. And the cheerleaders, joined by the Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corp and others, continued for hours, until only a few stragglers remained on the 26.2-mile course of the annual LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
There also were males dressed as females and a disc jockey, among other highlights of the annual event, which attracted 40,000 runners. Felix Limo of Kenya was the top male finisher, crossing with a time of 2:07.04. The top female finisher was American Deena Kastor, finishing in 2:21.24.
The Frontrunners had 280 volunteered and were stocked with 57,500 cups for water, 32,500 cups for Gatorade and 2,310 gallons of water.
And, of course, plenty of enthusiasm. At about 9 a.m., the Frontrunners section—from Aldine south to Belmont—was eight-deep on both sides of the sidewalk.
'This was the best ever,' said David Reithoffer, who spearheads the Frontrunners' water station. 'The organization was real good. The enthusiasm level was the best ever and there were more people in costumes than ever before.
'It was an incredible showing.'
What is planned as an encore in 2006?
'I don't know, yet, but I'm sure we'll have a pretty good idea soon because a lot of people give suggestions,' he said.