That being said, I was not encouraged when I reached the FIRST aid station and found NOTHING. No Gatorade, no water, NOTHING. Luckily, Chris was not too far away and he had a water bottle along the side of the road. He topped me off.
Next aid station... circa mile 6ish... AGAIN, nothing. No water for the first 3-4 tables... they were flipped over and there were cups strewn about an inch thick all over the roadway. The volunteers were raking the cups up... toward the end of the aid station, there was one guy with a gallon of water pouring it into people's bottles. They were out of cups. There was a female volunteer struggling with a new box of cups, trying to open it and get the cups out of the plastic sleeves, while literally hundreds of runners stood around, waiting for water.
Each aid station we went through looked like something from Michael Jackson's THRILLER video... rushed volunteers, trying to get water to zombie like runners who were bouncing around from table to table looking for open gallons of water and cups, which were sometimes hard to find TOGETHER.
We plugged along... passing the halfway point @ 2:49 chip time, which translated into about 3:15 race time because it took us a LONG time to cross the start mat.
At mile 16 we stopped for the bathrooms. Upon exiting the bathroom, I noted ANOTHER packed med tent, people sitting on curbs, ice packs on their heads and necks, people on gurneys... it was quite dramatic and looked like something you'd see in a war movie, sans the blood...and the combat, and the enemy, and the tanks and such, but you get it, right?
Anyway, we were making our way toward mile 17 when we heard an announcement "THE MARATHON IS CLOSED PROCEED 2 MILES AHEAD AND PICK UP YOUR FINISHER'S MEDAL" I was like "What? Let's GO!" So we ran a little further, and we heard it again... "THE RACE HAS BEEN CUT SHORT, PROCEED TO GRANT PARK TO PICK UP YOUR GEAR AND YOUR FINISHER'S MEDAL..." We kept going...
Up comes the RIGHT turn to go south to the south side, Chinatown, Comiskey Park, etc etc... the turn is BLOCKED by both mounted police and police cars... there are barricades up, and there are spectators all over.... and both fire hydrants are open spewing water on to the streets everywhere... There was also a misting machine. (We thought a building was on fire... we had no idea what all the smoke was... turns out it was water...) There was no getting through, and no going past...
So we we walked... past our turn and made the slog back to Grant Park, where we (in this peculiar order) picked up our gear, received a finisher's medal and photo, turned in our chips, and then crossed the defunct, backwards finish line. We were given a banana in there somewhere along the way too. The ice machines at the finish line were EMPTY.
It was the most unusual clusterfcuk I'd ever seen. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is the best way to describe it. People staggering around in a daze, falling over for no particular reason, and people schumped outside med tents along the course, nurses/doctors tending to them... all to the tune of ambulances wailing in the distance.
I believe the RD rerouted the race in order to cut his losses. Immediately. The last I'd heard 206 people were transported to the HOSPITAL, thousands upon thousands more were falling out of the med tents, and one person died. The early lack of water and fluids probably created problems for people later in the race... especially those who did not bring their own bottles.