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CHICAGOAlthough the race isn’t until Sunday, the Chicago Marathon weekend kicked off on Thursday.

Participants didn’t just leave the Abbot Health and Fitness expo with bib numbers and info packets, but more importantly, a sense of togetherness.

“It’s not about running through. It’s really about running with the flow,” said “Fino” Adewale from Germany.

He will run under Chicago skyscrapers for the first time. He won’t be alone on the course; more than 47,000 athletes will race.

Adewale says he runs just as much for the connections as for the exercise.

“The race will be more like enjoying the race, the whole atmosphere, the environment, the vibes,” said Adewale.

Mike Schoewe knows Chicago streets. He’s just never run on them.

“It’s going to be amazing; I don’t think there is a street we’re running on that I haven’t driven down,” said Schoewe.

Like many others, his motivation is to live a healthier life.

“Just seeing all the crowds and all of the different people out there, it’s going to be intense,” said Schoewe.

So, as he runs through the 29 neighborhoods on the route, he knows he’ll be running towards something more.

“I know I will be crying at the end of that. My wife and my three daughters will all be there, and I want to find them as soon as I can,” said Schoewe.

Schoewe and Adewale say the expo wasn’t just a time to get their last-minute things but also to get their last bits of encouragement.

The 3-day expo will continue on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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