5 minutes with Sallie Stiens
Sallie Stiens, a 31-year-old consultant, has raced in a few half marathons and many triathlons. But she really shines as a spectator. When Stiens calls herself "the best cheerleader ever," she doesn't mean the kind who dresses up in skimpy outfits and root-root-roots for the home team. As in years past, she plans to get hoarse cheering on friends and strangers alike during the Chicago Marathon, and has tips for anyone looking to join her.
Where are the best places to cheer?
The best [spot] doesn't necessarily mean "most crowded." In fact, the "best" spots are the spots where the runners are slogging along like half-stoned crackpots, trying to make it through miles 16 to 26. Once the course turns south, down toward Chinatown, or in between Chinatown and Comiskey, the runners tend to need a little more support.What do you yell to get runners pumped?
I like, "You guys are looking great." You can say that to anyone. "Steady wins the race." I like, "You guys look hot, you guys are so sexy. Sweat is so incredibly fun." We got a lot of smiles when we said, "We'll see you at the beer tent." People are looking to be entertained.What are your best spectating moments?
One year, I ran into my friend Amy Morton. I asked her if there was anything I could do. She said, "Can you get me new knees?" There was the guy last year who pulled off the course and said, "Can you help me stretch?" Random sweaty guys asking me to take care of their legs isn't something that happens to me all the time.—Mark Sinclair
Sallie Stiens and thousands of other amped-up spectators will line the course of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on Sunday 9.