Runners participate in the Chicago Marathon for a variety of reasons: some love to run, some want a challenge and some are looking for a new experience. However, many participants use the race to make a difference in someone else's life and run for a charity or other personal cause. That in turn makes them an inspiration to their friends and loved ones.
NBC Chicago asked viewers to talk about their marathon heroes. Here are just a few of many inspiring stories.
Eva Baggili told NBC Chicago that her marathon hero is her boyfriend, David Pineda. Pineda is a Chicago firefighter out of Engine 45 in Hyde Park and a devoted marathon runner. Baggili said he has run several marathons in the past and has been training extremely hard for this year's Chicago Marathon.
"He spends a lot of time giving his time and money for great causes, and I just feel that he deserves the recognition," she said.
Clint Moyers' good friend, Gavin Burke, is running to raise money for the Illinois Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Burke is a cancer survive, and Moyers said he's done a variety of other events, including half marathons and triathlons. This will be his first full marathon.
"He is not only a hero, he is an inspiration," Moyers said on NBC Chicago's Facebook page.
Kim LeBeau Caplea
Sarah Scavone's cousin, Kim LeBeau Caplea, will run to raise money for the React Thyroid Foundation. Scavone told NBC Chicago that Caplea's sister, Michelle LeBeau, started the foundation after she was diagnosed with an incurable form of thyroid cancer. Her ultimate goal is to create awareness and raise money for new treatment options and possibly a cure.
Lori Prang's marathon hero is Lockport resident Gregg Young. Young is running for the third or fourth year for St. Jude's Children Hospital, Prang said, and has been raising money through Facebook posts. To thank everyone for their donations, Young puts the names of everyone who donated on his running singlet.
"Gregg is a fabulous and generous man who very much feels the kids are the heroes," Prang said. "He feels the little bit of pain he might feel is nothing compared to what the kids go through."
Jeanette Braga told NBC Chicago on Facebook that her husband Andrew is running for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Braga said his father was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and he wanted to face his own challenge as his father battles the disease. Braga is extremely proud of her marathon hero.
DiMarco and her friends have formed a team to run for her close friend, Pam Kolnicki, who is currently fighting ovarian cancer. In addition to the Chicago Marathon, group members participated in the IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead triathlon. DiMarco said many of the runners don't know Pam, but are willing to run 26.2 miles for her.
"I am so appreciative of your support and love for Pam and me," she said.