Instead I returned to jumping up and down waiting for the start of the race. The band (because of course Chiditarod has it’s own little marching band) played on. The band was a lot of fun, playing a bizarre little mix of music, but it was fun to listen to and jump around to while standing in the cold. About three minutes before the event was supposed to kick off the bullhorns came on and announced a push back of thirty minutes.
I wanted to be angry, but it was hard to be angry when the push back was a result of people collecting so much donated food that they were at that moment filling the second truck with food, while trying to get people checked in at the same time. This was proof of what a couple of people with an interest in running a bar crawl while also working to help people had the power to do. I was very impressed and figured I could deal with the cold, knowing that at the end of the day some families were going to be less hungry.
While waiting, I wandered around, said hello to the lady with the dog who ran last year but not thisyear, scoped out a couple of the costumes, and waited for the start while staying upright and in motion. The hangover that I had been fighting was really trying hard to work its way to the front of my mind, but I was not interested in letting it get any real playtime.
The start of Chidatrod is a great time, and a great place to see everything sort of all at once. Everyone, with their decorated shopping carts, comes pushing out of a stacked-up parking lot all at once. There are a variety of theme carts, and the themes can go from relatively simple—like Blackhawks fans drinking beer and shouting slogans—to incredibly complex—like the guy dressed as Indiana Jones running around Chicago being chased by a giant boulder. People spend a lot of time working on these carts, and some of the teams spend an equal amount of time on raising money and donations for the event. Clearly commitment. Overachievers the lot, but I approve.
Finally, the bullhorn blared once more that the games were about to begin, and with what sounded like whip cracking amidst the countdown, the gates were thrown open and the runners came out.