With over 40,000 participants and about 1.7 million spectators, the Chicago Marathon is one of the most sought after races in America. As a matter of fact, in company with the Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo Marathons, it is one of the six World Marathon Majors. The route crosses 29 neighborhoods and has proven to be one of the most diverse races with over 130 countries represented. In a study by Medium on runners from the 2017 Chicago Marathon, 48% of the participants running identified as female.
This year, Cicely Green will improve that statistic.
Nike and TONL have partnered to create a vibrant photography collection inspired by and centered around the Chicago Marathon. Highlighted by three diverse narratives showcasing past, present, and future perspectives on marathon running, the partnership takes TONL’s premiere diverse stock photography further into sport with over 60 images for free, editorial use.
This PRESENT prompt allowed us to learn more from Cicely, a passionate runner and advocate for her community, as she shares her experience preparing for the 41st annual Chicago Marathon, taking place today, October 7th. Put yourself in her ‘running’ shoes as she gives us a full recount of everything she has endured while prepping for the race. Read her full interview below and don't forget to download her NIKE Collection of running pictures.
A little about me….
I am from Belleville, IL, which is about 20 minutes east of St. Louis. My mom is Black from Alabama, and my Dad is French Creole from Texas/Louisiana.
Ten years out of high school and a master’s degree in a different field was the time it took me to find the athlete in her and a community (through Nike run club!) to support me. From this, my calling emerged. Even though I put on my first running shoes in ‘08 to lose the freshman 15, my first race was a 5k in 2011. I quickly increased my racing distances as I found more enjoyment and fulfillment in higher miles, and had already graduated to my first half marathon in 2013. Since then, I have made a career change to fitness, health, and sports. I have now completed a handful of half marathons and Sunday will be my 6th marathon.
Why did you decide to run the Chicago Marathon?
This year's Chicago Marathon will be my 6th marathon, and I am running it because Gatorade Endurance sponsored my entry since my sports marketing job works closely with Gatorade. As of today, I will have run these six marathons all within the last three years. Chicago Marathon (2015), Eugene Marathon (2017), Chicago Marathon (2017), NYC Marathon (2017), Berlin Marathon (2018), Chicago Marathon (2018).
What adversity have you experienced in training for the Chicago Marathon?
My training was surrounded by this year's Berlin Marathon, and adversity I have experienced during this training cycle was overtraining, self-doubt, and comparison to others. I ran the most miles I have ever ran this summer (avg 180 miles per month), but I still did not run a personal best at Berlin Marathon last month. I am re-evaluating my running goals, but I'm also realizing that we are all on our own unique journeys and to accept my journey and not compare myself to others. I have even experienced self-doubt wondering if my body is ready to run another marathon 3 weeks after Berlin, but I remind myself that the body will achieve what the mind believes.
What are you most excited about in running the Chicago Marathon?
I love the energy of the city in anticipation of the race. I consider this to be one of the best weekends / days in Chicago. I am excited to not take this race as serious, but to have fun and run free. My picture is on the Chicago marathon banners throughout the course, so I am looking forward to celebrating my accomplishments, representing my city and making those close to me very proud.
What does crossing the finish line mean to you?
Here is a poem I wrote that explains what running or crossing the finish line means to me:
Most are unaware of my story
Of one that was born in Southern IL
kissing the Mississippi River
Growing up without a voice
Searching for it
Outside of myself
And within the wrong people
In my youth
Forced me to
Rely on myself
Deciding to #runfree
Traveling and running
Though I did not always commit
It became my way of maintaining
my worth and happiness
With a change in my
workplaces and community
I became a No Meat Athlete
Challenging myself to
Further places and
After 9 years of
an on and off relationship,
2017 was the year
I called myself a Runner
Final thoughts before I start the race….
I started a blog called Froathletes that I am in the process of developing. Fro Athletes is created to address the unique needs of black females in fitness and health, smash stereotypes, and empower black female athletes to be our best selves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Noticing the lack of diversity and representation within the distance running community inspired this idea. Learn more at froathletes.com and via my Instagram @run.2.bq!
You have read the Narrative, now use it as inspiration. Download “TONL x Nike Chicago Marathon Running Series” below!
*for editorial use ONLY