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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago Updates

I'm sure it is obvious how much I loved Chicago but it wasn't just because of the beautiful city! I met great people and was able to get the key interviews that I was there for. It was not easy to nail down the first one but it was sure worth it!

Phil Hersh has been writing about sports and the Olympics for a long time and has followed Catherine's career for many years as well. His schedule is extremely busy, especially having just returned from covering the vote on choosing the location for the 2016 Olympics (where Chicago unfortunately did not win) but he fit us in after the elite athlete press conference for the Chicago Marathon on Friday. His insights on women in distance running and especially his explanation on how he formulates his lists that put Catherine at the number one position of all time female marathoners was very informative!

After the interview I went with Jon to the Health and Fitness Expo where he had a booth to promote his film Spirt of the Marathon. There were many vendors there and I wanted to look around for potential sponsors for the film. The Expo was held all day Friday and Saturday. There was a fair amount of traffic through but Deena Kastor was scheduled to sign autographs at Jon's booth and starting a half hour before, there was a very long line at his booth waiting for her! Many were purchasing a DVD to have signed and some already had a copy. Almost as big a celebrity as Deena was another star of Jon's film, Jerry Meyers who is a 70+ year old man who has completed at least 5 marathons; the first at age 65!
Deena Kastor signing authographs
Spirit of the Marathon stars Ryan & Colleen Bradley talking to Melissa Leggett at the Expo

I spent close to six hours at the Expo and afterwards felt as if I had run a marathon! It was exhausting, however, there were many vendors there and hopefully we'll find some interested parties to help out with the film!
these Injinji performance socks are awesome! They are SO comfy and are made for runners!
And how can you not like a line of clothing called RunGirlRun? These shirts rock!

On Saturday morning we met with Kathryn Switzer. She is an amazing woman who has been a pioneer in women's running since becoming the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. She was instrumental in getting the women's marathon into the Olympics and she has known Catherine on a personal level for a long time as well. She was fantastic to interview because she has SO much information, is lively, animated, fun and I just loved hearing the personal stories about her and Catherine. This is what is at the heart of this film; many know about Catherine Ndereba's acheivments, but it is "off the field" so to speak that most people do not know her. It is the human and personal side that I want to show the world; not just the running machine that her body has become!

After spending a few hours with Kathryn and she had answered all of my questions, (many of which she even answered before I could ask!), I took an architectural tour via boat and got some beautiful Chicago b-roll! The buildings in this city are truly amazing! views from the boat

Gotta love lighthouses (shame it was so overcast and drizzly)
The race on Sunday morning was c-c-cold! I felt so bad for the runners out there but they seemed to block out the cold and use it in a positive way. Everyone seemed to have a great time running and besides being 33 degrees at the start, it was a gorgeous day! Jon and I scrambled to the finish area to capture the end of the race but since we weren't network we were stationed in a photo corral that didn't give us optimal position. However, I was not there to film the actual race so it was fine!
plenty of potassium for the runners!

After the winners' press conference we were able to talk with the second place winner, Irina Mikitenko. She has won quite a few major marathons in such a short period of time and like Catherine, she is a mother. She was very sweet and fortunately we had an interpreter.

After lunch, I was able to interview Deena Kastor, the top female distance runner in the United States right now. She is so lovely (as was her family who were all there with her) and was also very generous with her time! She has known Catherine for awhile and had some great stories to tell. I really believe that all of the interviews during Chicago will make this a better film!

view from the top of the Chicago Hilton; it was a glorious race day!

On Monday I took some time and went to the Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower but everyone still refers to it as Sears!). It is amazing what went into the construction of this incredible structure and the view from the top is incredible.views from the top of Sears Tower

I'm sure it would have been even more spectacular if it had been a clear day but even with the clouds it was pretty awesome! After taking in the sights a friend picked me up, we had lunch in the suburbs and then he took me back to Ohare. I really did not want to leave so maybe it was meant to be that the flight was so over booked they needed people to volunteer to be bumped from the flight. I volunteered and got one last night in the windy city! Fortunately, I made it to my hotel in time to see the last part of the Phillies win their playoff game so all was good! That was just the icing on a very good trip!

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