SparkPeople Members Take on Chicago


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  77 comments   :  20,011 Views

Last September a trend started in the SparkPeople Road Runners SparkTeam that has since blossomed into a full-fledge SparkPeople movement. The unofficial SparkPeople Inaugural Race took place at the New Orleans Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon and Half-marathon in February 2010. Since that time, race get-togethers have been slowly building momentum with each subsequent posting on the message boards.

This past weekend was no exception as SparkPeople members gathered in Grant Park early Sunday morning to run and walk in the Second Annual Chicago Rock N Roll Half-Marathon. The day was absolutely gorgeous with not a cloud in the sky. It was a little warmer than ideal and the humidity was quite high, however, we all went out to run our very best.

Knowing that this would be the first half-marathon for several of our SparkPeople members, I decided to carry my camera along the course to document their great accomplishments when we gathered at the finish line in Grant Park. Never in my wildest dream did I ever think I would actually have the honor to run with both of these members.

I was running along enjoying the sites when at mile 6 or so I looked over and could not believe that I was running with SparkPeople member Root4Home (AKA Elsa). Never in all my years of racing have I ever had the opportunity to meet another runner like this, especially in a sea of over 18,000 runners. We shared a wave as I ran ahead and was able to document her accomplishment as she continued running her race looking confident and relaxed.

Then around mile 9.5 I heard my name only to find Teniswhiz (AKA Lynn) running right behind me. Because I had my Sparkin' Hood to Coast shirt on with the SparkPeople Burst on the back she was able to see I was with SparkPeople. I can't begin to tell you what a thrill and honor it was to share this event with my two new SparkPeople running buddies.

At the end of the race, we all met at the 'S', a suggestion made by FELIXC (AKA Rhonda) at our first ever running event in New Orleans. It has now become a SparkPeople tradition to meet at the "S", the standard meeting place for SparkPeople members to reunite after running/walking their event.

We had members from all over come and share this glorious day. We had Muckity_Muck (AKA Monica) come in from Shanghai who was back in the States visiting family and friends and ANEPANALIPTI (AKA Dimitra) from Greece who was also visiting family while on break from college.

We had Suezette_414 (AKA Suezette) from Florida, Rhonda from Nebraska, Deej4Fitness (AKA Deej) from Indiana and of course many local folks including TENISWHIZ, Tigger622 (AKA Dani) who ran the event with her friend Luke and her Dad, Jim and FARLEY18 (AKA Rita) who travelled 40 miles by train to cheer on the SparkPeople runners and walkers. We even had a few members, TORTEUTOO (AKA Jenny) and Root4Home, make the quick trip down from Milwaukee to run this event.

Meeting members for the first time is becoming the highlight of my trips. No matter where I run, I have had the great opportunity to meet some of the most inspiring people ever. It is amazing the connection we seem to have with one another. It's as if we have always been life-long friends while sharing the joy of embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Three weeks from today I will have the honor to run in one of the most prestigious running events in the country--The Hood to Coast Relay comprised of all SparkPeople members who just so happened to meet online. It is truly going to be the highlight of my running career. The excitement is growing by the hour and come Saturday evening on August 28th there will be a SparkPeople party taking place in the small community of Seaside, Oregon. Rumor has it, we may even find a few sparklers to light up the night sky in honor of the event and in thanks to SparkPeople for bringing us all together. Stay tuned for more.

And if you happen to be running or walking the Victoria Marathon and Half Marathon in Victoria, British Columbia on October 10th, the Los Angeles Rock N Roll Half Marathon on October 24th, the San Antonio Rock N Roll event on November 14th or the Las Vegas Rock N Roll event on December 5th, drop me a line. We have teams formed and ready to meet at the "S".

If you are running or walking in an event and would like to meet other SparkPeople members, feel free to post here when and where and let's get the momentum rolling.

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  • 77
    2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon! PS-- DRB13_1, to meet at the "S" means to meet under the "S" tent at the family reunification area after the race. - 8/13/2010   11:00:46 AM
  • 76
    What does it mean to "meet at the S"? - 8/12/2010   3:55:03 PM
  • GRANMA777
    Atlanta anyone. - 8/10/2010   9:32:09 PM
  • 74
    I am not a runner... saving my knees for dancing into a ripe old age if I can; however, Suzette and I started Spark around the same time. I have been inspired to share our journey together and to see her mentioned in the blog is awesome! I only wish I'd have known you all were going to be so close, I would have definitely come to cheer you on or perhaps even walk with you.
    Keep me posted! - 8/10/2010   4:50:53 PM
  • 73
    See you in Vegas! Save me a bottle of water!

    Anyone running the Maine Marathon or 1/2 in October? or the Manchester NH 1/2 in November? - 8/10/2010   9:33:02 AM
  • 72
    Any SPARKIES out there running the 10K WICKED in Virginia Beach, VA on October 30 - let's show-em what Spark is all about. - 8/10/2010   7:52:21 AM
  • 71
    Looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas, Nancy! - 8/10/2010   12:07:30 AM
  • 70
    I SO wish I could afford to meet up with you guys and run. I can only afford the local Wright Patterson Air Force 5K, 10K, 1/2 and marathon. This year I was going to try the 1/2 but had to take a month off training due to upper respiratory infection and don't have time to get the miles in. 10K for me again....

    Hope everyone has fun with their runs! - 8/9/2010   1:21:36 PM
  • 69
    Running the Louisiana Half Marathon on Oct 10th! - 8/9/2010   7:13:21 AM
  • 68
    Hey Nancy - what a great time!

    You know what would be a great Spark feature? If there was a section to select what upcoming active events you were doing, and then if you wanted to be notified if other spark'ers were participating or if you wanted for them to be able to send you a sparkmail. The official list of events for a drop down box could come from and/or Obviously the system might not be perfect as all events may not be in it, especially smaller ones, but that way people would have a chance of meeting up and getting to know new sparkers interested in the same event. - 8/9/2010   6:54:30 AM
  • 67
    this is really cool!
    i would love meeting SP member in real life. this is the no. 1 reason why i started my SparkUkraine team. - 8/9/2010   4:13:42 AM
  • 66
    that is too fun! I will be running my first 5K in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on September 6th. Come on Out Sparkies!! BTW, that happens to be my 50th Birthday! - 8/9/2010   1:21:24 AM
  • ST91347
    I'm not a runner, but I'm from Chicago. I loved seeing glimpses of familiar locale. Grant park, lake shore drive, the Chicago skyline. I've been in central Texas for 17 months, now. I miss home. - 8/9/2010   12:31:23 AM
  • 64
    Awesome what an accomplishment. Would love to be a part of that some day. - 8/8/2010   10:59:44 PM
  • 63
    WOOHOO! Way to boost all our efforts. - 8/8/2010   10:30:07 PM
  • 62
    Way to Go!!!!! So cool to have so many Sparkers together!!!!

    I'm doing my first 5k on 10.10.10 in Concord, MI - Friends of the Falling Waters Trail - Wildlife 5k! They are also having full and half marathons... maybe next year for me. Hope there are other Sparkers out there! - 8/8/2010   9:56:57 PM
  • 61
    This sounds like so much fun! - 8/8/2010   9:51:01 PM
  • 60
    The Biggest Loser organization has just announced the first of 16 5K's and one mile fun runs. It will be in Myrtle Beach, SC on September 25th. Bob Harper will be at the finish line, I am excited to meet him. There will be an inaugural fall half marathon in MB on October 24th as well. I am signed up to walk/run both so let me know if there are any other SP'ers out there that will be in either. The Chicago event looked like a lot of fun, and have a great time in Vegas. I did that half three years ago and it is a hoot. Watch out for all the Elvis runners, and there were a few show girls (except they weren't girls) running as well in pink tutus and fruit on their heads. - 8/8/2010   9:40:15 PM
  • 59
    This is awesome! I LOVE meeting other sparkers and sharing a passion. Our Northern Virginia Sparkers team ran the Susan G Komen Global Race for the Cure in Washington DC in June of this year. We had a team of 17 and it was an awesome experience! We meet monthly for coffee and have other outings together too (movies, dinner, etc). We are signed up for several races together this fall, one of them a qualifier for the National Half Marathon in Washington, DC March 2011., which is a goal of some of us. Thanks for sharing the pics and experience! I loved reading it. - 8/8/2010   9:10:18 PM
  • 58
    So cool!! - 8/8/2010   8:47:33 PM
  • JAY75REY
    What fun! way to go, everyone.

    since long-distance running isn't for everyone, I hope to hear about some 5k's in my area where SparkPeople will be getting together. that's more realistic for me and probably many others. Not that "setting the bar high" is bad, but there are many ways for us to become fitter and healthier people, and long-distance running does take quite a commitment. Again, I take my hat off to you runners!

    I'm looking forward to hearing about the Hood to Coast; sounds great. - 8/8/2010   8:00:12 PM
    I plan on doing the Mini & maybe the Triple Crown here in Louisville this year, I did lose my partner in crime though :( I'm hoping to find some people here maybe to buddy up with for that! - 8/8/2010   7:59:33 PM
  • 55
    This is the greatest! What a wonderful experience! - 8/8/2010   6:26:57 PM
  • 54
    I cant wait to join you guys! Working my way up to a 5k run right now. - 8/8/2010   6:17:52 PM
  • 53
    WOW! What a wonderful story, Thanks so much! I used to be a long distance runner, 12 miles a day at age 40, but then fell and shattered my ankle and ended my running days. Now arthritis has taken over all my joints, and it's too painful to run. But I'm with you in spirit! Have a wonderful time! - 8/8/2010   6:11:21 PM
  • 52
    Oh, Nancy, I am so HAPPY to read this BLOG! I am so proud of you and the others! I wish i could run! Well, I guess it's a matter of saying, "I'll be glad when I can run!" - 8/8/2010   5:22:14 PM
  • 51
    Congratulations to all the Chicago runners and walkers - sounds like it was a fantastic time!! I'm sorry I missed the fun of getting to meet and spend time with so many wonderful people, but I'm not quite as sorry I missed the race itself as the heat and humidity would have been torture for this Seattle area gal!

    I'd love to join the group in Vegas!! Is there room at the party for one more? - 8/8/2010   5:15:55 PM
  • 50
    So cool!!!! What an accomplishment, and really cool to meet other sparkers in person!! - 8/8/2010   4:44:33 PM
  • 49
    Awesome usual!! Yes, I can't believe it's only 4 months away.....Viva Las Vegas!!! Looking forward to meeting you and all the other sparkers in December!! Woohoo!!!!! - 8/8/2010   2:47:56 PM
  • BOOKWORM1448
    Thank you for this blog, Nancy. I will be walking my first 5K September 18th in Bossier City, LA. This is for the Northwest LA chapter of the Race For the Cure for the Komen Foundation. Anyone interested or think you might can visit the Shreveport area that Saturday, drop me a Sparkmail. - 8/8/2010   2:12:16 PM
  • 47
    Kleenex please!! Thanks so much Nancy for capturing the memories & taking me back :) What a gift Sparkpeople has given us!! It's all about relationship, people need people & sharing the journey makes it not only doable but fun!! Runners, walkers, makes no diff!! Doing life & fitness together ROCKS & what a blast it was ROCKIN' the city of Chicago together :)

    HTC look out!! The Sparkteam's a comin' with a herd of cheerleaders in tow!!!! GO TEAM!! - 8/8/2010   2:12:10 PM
  • 46
    I was just in Seaside yesterday! It is a fun place. I'm not sure if I'd be able to see you all at the meet up on the 28th, but have an awesome time doing the Hood to Coast!! - 8/8/2010   2:00:29 PM
  • 45
    Wow! That sounds like so much fun! I'm asthmatic so can't run, but I walk 3 miles every day! Was excited to hear about a Spark team at the HTC on the 28th! My daughter is participating this year....on the Nutter Butter walking team with my brother.....she has been training for five months now. I will be chasing her children during the race at home, but I'll be rooting for her and for the Spark Team! Yay! Hope you all have a great time! - 8/8/2010   1:21:43 PM
  • 44
    How awesome, I live in Chicago, wish I knew!!! Way to go everyone, YOU ROCK!!! - 8/8/2010   10:31:54 AM
  • 43
    This blog definitely made me want to start traveling to meet some of these people who do so well. I have never done anything like this and at 70 years old, I'm not sure I could go for 10 miles or however long it is.
    - 8/8/2010   10:02:04 AM
    Nancy, I loved your blog and getting the opportunity to meet some other Spark people is the greatest and you got to meet some of those I would love to meet. I am so excited about HTC - I can't wait 18 more days and will be getting together.

    For those that would like to know whats happening with the Spark Hood to Coast team - join our spark team - Hood to coast 2010 - We would love to have lots of cheer leaders at the end of the race. let us know you will be there and and we can let you know are estimated finishing time!!!! - 8/8/2010   9:46:25 AM
  • 41
    The blog and ALL these comments are super!! I too felt like I was there. I think SP is the best thing going these days - it helps people in so many positive ways. I plan to walk/jog a 1/2 marathon in Lancaster PA in Oct, but I would like to get some information on the races in Pittsburgh in 2011 as well. Congrats to all of you and thank you so much Nancy for sharing. - 8/8/2010   9:32:02 AM
    We've got such a lovely, SparkLing ambassador in you, sweet Nancy! Thanks for your lively work in keeping the troops happy and enthused! - 8/8/2010   9:24:22 AM
  • 39
    You made me feel like I was there! I loved it!

    You know this...but YOU are a TRUE INSPIRATION!

    Thanks for giving of YOUR TIME to SPARK SO MANY back to health!

    It is a gift! - 8/8/2010   9:19:23 AM
  • 38
    Wow, what fun! So great to hear about such positive steps! - 8/8/2010   8:55:55 AM
    I would love to meet some of my fellow Sparkers at a walk or road race one day. For those who are interested, the Tufts 10K Road Race is held on Columbus Day in Boston. It's a women only race (except the the great guys running as part of the charity teams). Great race, well run, lots of fun ! - 8/8/2010   8:17:38 AM
  • 36
    Way to go Coach Nancy and all the other Sparkers!
    Glad you could meet up and have fun running together!
    :) :) :) Deb - 8/8/2010   7:42:56 AM
  • 35
    How inspiring ...I can't wait to do this someday. So happy to see Suezette there from Florida you look AWESOME !!! - 8/8/2010   6:40:10 AM
  • 34
    That's so great. It feels so exciting to meet people from sparkpeople, specially in a marathon. how better could it be?
    Good Job to all of you. - 8/8/2010   1:45:06 AM
  • 33
    I was looking at Vegas, but I decided to do my first half closer to home in Riverside, California on November 14th. But I definitely want to do a destination run early next year - maybe New Orleans? - 8/8/2010   1:09:22 AM
  • 32
    wtg - 8/8/2010   12:42:59 AM
    that sounds amazing! :) i wish i were near chicago so i could go to the s and meet fellow sparkers! - 8/7/2010   11:34:23 PM
  • 30
    I'm sorry that we didn't meet in Chicago! But, I'm running Hood To Coast too! So we must meet up at Seaside!!! - 8/7/2010   11:21:10 PM
    That is awesome, that has been a day-dream of mine, to run a race with a bunch of Sparkies and have a get together afterward to celebrate the run. Man, than looks like so much fun!!! - 8/7/2010   9:34:15 PM
  • 28
    Great. - 8/7/2010   9:04:08 PM

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