Every big marathon has its great stories, and Chicago is certainly no different. I think one of the best you’ll hear is about my friend Janelle and her cousin E.J.
Janelle is one stud of an athlete. In my running group we call her the alien. Proof positive–she just finished 4th overall (behind 3 pros) this past weekend at a local 1/2 Ironman. This coming weekend she is running Chicago. And the following weekend she’ll be running as part of my relay team at the Baltimore marathon. She does all this while holding down a full-time teaching job and raising 4 kids. And she’s not 20-something, she’s 45. See? An alien.
When she runs Chicago this weekend, she’ll be guiding her cousin, comedian E.J. Scott, who is losing his sight thanks to a genetic disorder called choroideremia. E.J. has never run a marathon, but decided to take the challenge on in order to raise money for the Choroidermia Research Foundation. He’ll be doing it blindfolded because being exposed to sunlight for such a long period is painful to him. He’ll be holding on to Janelle’s elbow for the full 26.2.
Janelle could run any marathon she wants and do it in the 3:15 range–quite impressive. This year, however, she’ll be doing it at E.J.’s pace, and that’s all the more impressive. If you’re one of the 40,000 out there this Sunday, keep an eye out for the blindfolded runner on the arm of my friend–give them a big shout out.