Get up and do it: Anyone can do Bank of America Chicago Marathon

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Marie Jarrell (right) of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training coached Michele Kwok on the Chicago Marathon course.
Credit: For the Sun-Times

Anyone caught up in the pre-race hype for the 39th Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday should keep dreaming, then get moving.

Anyone can do it.

As Marie Jarrell well knows.

“First thing, anyone who puts in the time and is willing to do the training can do it, anyone,’’ Jarrell said. “We have people who walk the whole thing. You have to train to do that, too.’’

Jarrell is now the head marathon coach for Illinois Team in Training. But she didn’t start out as a coach, far from it. She ran her first marathon in 2002 with the help of the training and fundraising with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training.

LLS will have 350 runners in the marathon this year. Jarrell is a cancer survivor herself, as well as a coach of hundreds on the South Side and south suburbs.

“I was that person,’’ she said. “I was not a runner. I had run one 5K many years before. I was one of those. I don’t think there was a bucket list back then, but it is something I wanted to do.’’

She fully understands having the dream, then doing a marathon.

“If you are thinking about doing it from the couch, build from the base,’’ said Jarrell, a physical therapist from New Lenox. ~~Begin walking. If you are already out there, build your base. Get out there and start to make it a habit, even just 10 minutes three or four times a week. It is a good idea.’’

For her, it ended up a path to being a certified running coach, triathlon coach and Iron Man coach.

“In Team in Training, we have people get off the couch in May,’’ she said. “The more base you build, the better off you are. Even experienced runners focus training. You don’t want to be doing crazy distances.’’

The 26.2 miles on Sunday is craziness enough for most.

The charity component of the Chicago Marathon not only raises millions (a record $18.7 million in 2015) but guarantees thousands of runners a spot through charity blocks outside of the lottery draw.

“No matter what your charity, I think you have an advantage as a charity runner for having something bigger than yourself,’’ Jarrell said. “You have that to draw from. It helps you along in training because you have taken people’s money.

“Marathons are tricky things. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles.’’

As somebody who has been on both sides of training and coaching, Jarrell sent this conclusion, “One last thing . . . when I spoke about needing a coach because there is so much to know, that includes running form, walking form, pacing, race strategy, cross training, injury prevention, clothing, shoes, nutrition, hydration and appropriate training plan for your level.’’

Social media for Team in Training include Facebook (/myteamintraining), Twitter (@teamintraining), Instagram (@leukemialymphomasociety) and hashtag (#TeamInTraining).

Marie Jarrell (right) beginning the training of a group for of Leukemia &amp; Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training.<br>Credit: For the Sun-Times

Marie Jarrell (right) beginning the training of a group for of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training.
Credit: For the Sun-Times


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