NOTE: NBC 5 will offer complete live coverage of the 2017 race beginning at 7 a.m. CT online and on TV. The race can be streamed live from around world on the NBC Chicago app, which will also offer a live stream of the finish line from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more.
Oct. 8, 2017, is a big day for all participants running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but the stakes are especially high for one particular participant.
Maggie Shearer will travel over 2,000 miles to Chicago from Newbury Park, Calif., hoping her marathon time will earn her a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.
"I've been racing since I was about 7," Shearer said. "The fire in my eyes and the passion have always been there."
Shearer, 39, left her job to pursue that passion full time, citing her husband's recent mountain biking accident as her inspiration.
"The incident made me realize how life can change in an instant," Shearer said. "I felt like I needed to be a better example to my boys and show them that it's never too late to pursue a goal."
Shearer has enlisted former NCAA Champion runner Sylvia Mosqueda to help her reach the 2:45:00 time required to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
Mosqueda competed at the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 10,000m race and finished second at the U.S. Half Marathon Championship two years in a row (2000-2001).
"Coach Sylvia's training plan has been amazing for my growth as a runner and athlete," Shearer said. "Since making these changes I have watched my life come back together in a way I never dreamed possible."
Shearer will also celebrate her 40th birthday on race day, coincidentally the 40th anniversary of the event.
"I believe this is good luck," Shearer said. "I am so excited to spend my 40th birthday going after a goal I have worked so hard to achieve."
Beyond making her Olympic-sized dream a reality, Shearer also hopes to inspire others through her efforts at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
"I don't plan on stopping until I qualify," Shearer said. "Life is too short to do anything you're not truly meant to do."
Shearer's first qualifying attempt is less than three weeks away at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.