While security was on the minds of many during their 26.2 mile journey through the city's streets, participants didn't let it stop them as the winning runner set a new course record in what has become a historic Chicago Marathon.
Dennis Kimetto of Kenya won the male division with an unofficial time of 2:03:45, breaking the previous record set last year of 2:04:38.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the female division with an unofficial time of 2:19:59, slower than the 2002 course record of 2:17:18.
The winners of the wheelchair division finished the race in less than 2 hours. As a group of wheelchairs crossed the finish line a number of volunteers clapped and cheered.
Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won the male wheelchair division with a time of 1:30:37 and the winner of the female wheelchair division, Tatyana McFadden of Champaign won with a time of 1:42:37.
Kelly Minor, 22, finished the race in four hours flat, 30 seconds slower than her finish last year.
“Doesn’t that just tick you off?” said Minor, of Chicago, who ran her second Chicago Marathon.
Asked how she was feeling after running: “Tired. Very, very tired.”
She said the race started out good because of the cool weather in the early morning. But as she ran farther down through the course and the morning progressed, that’s when the heat kicked in.
“Once I got past the buildings, the sun was just on your back,” she said, cloaked in her blanket-like heat wrap. “The sun was hot…Phew!”
For Minor, the most difficult part of today’s race was around the 22-mile mark when she said her body was playing a “mental game,” meaning she was getting close to the finish line but she knew there was still a long way to go.
She also thought of the Boston bombings, especially since her finishing time was around the same time they exploded during that city’s marathon.
By 11 a.m., fatigue and pain were on every face as they turned north onto Michigan Avenue from 35th Street in Bronzeville at the 23-mile marker.
One runner lay on the curb, struggling to get up. After some water he got to his feet and told Bob Arendt of Chicago that he'd finish the marathon walking.
Arendt, 52, was there cheering on his daughter-in-law.
"His legs cramped up and he kind of went down," Arendt said of the marathoner he helped. "We got him some water and encouraged him on."
Shortly before 11 a.m., Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Superior Ambulance Service, a private ambulance company, has been handling any medical calls arising from the race. Chicago Fire Department personnel has been merely assisting them, so far.
Langford couldn't provide the number of calls Superior has responded to, but he said the Fire Department hasn't transported any runners to hospitals.
As the runners raced along State Street, police officers in bright yellow vests kept watch at every intersection, lending a sense of reassurance to many in the crowd for the 36th annual race.
"You always think about safety because you never expect (violence), but I haven't felt uncomfortable at all," said Belinda Musgrave, who had come from Houston, Texas to cheer on her friend, Rhonda Kersgieter. "They seem to have everything under control."
Among the people at the end were a number of uniformed Chicago police officers who were standing guard behind the fence along side the finish line area.
A few of the uniformed officers were wearing bulletproof vests that read, "Department of Homeland Security POLICE" and walked through the area. They were accompanied by a homeland security K9 officer who was walking a bomb-sniffing dog.
The dog, appearing to be shepherd, wore a patch on its shoulder that read, "DO NOT PET."