About 200 people attended the Celebration Party for the Team To End AIDS (T2), the endurance-training program of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), held Oct. 20 at Sidetrack in Lakeview.
The event honored those T2 participants in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon held Oct. 7, the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon held in August and multiple other eventsand many attendees sported their finisher's medal(s).
"Today is a huge celebration, [including] the fundraising that this incredibly dedicated group has contributed to AFCthe hundreds of thousands of dollars that was raised for the fight against AIDSalong with the personal athletic accomplishments of all our participants," said David Ernesto Munar, president of AFC and himself a T2 participant.
"For so many of the T2 participants this year, it was their first marathon ever. Others set personal-best times. Others improved their overall athleticism and fitness."
Some of the T2 participants finished the Chicago Marathon in about three hours. For others, it was a four-, five- or six-hour journey to cover 26.2 miles.
"To be on the course for six hours or more takes enormous determination and physical prowess," Munar said. "We had participants at every speed, every level [of fitness] this year. They all set a goal and they met it.
"There were so many highlights from 2012, starting with the fact that 100 percent of the T2 runners in the Chicago Marathon finished the race; that was great.
"The Chicago Marathon was held under perfect running conditions, and it was great to see so many T2 runners drop their personal record time on the course by 20, 40, even 60 minutes. That was so great to see. We had participants who didn't just accomplish their goals, they blew them away."
Munar said T2 had 25 percent few participants in all its events combined than in 2011. Still, "so many people did amazing with their fundraising, and we applauded them [at the event.]"
Munar will be running the ING New York City Marathon in November, the Honolulu Marathon in December and the Goofy Challenge in January in Orlando, which consists of a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday morning and a full marathon (26.2) the next day.
"When you train for six months with T2, and set aside every Saturday morning to be with your pace group, you really get close to the people in the program. So there's a lot of love here," Munar said.
"Part of tonight also is asking people to already start thinking about their New Year's Resolutions for 2013, and to say, 'I'm In' for 2013 with T2and this is my athletic goal for the year and this is my fundraising goal."
Munar said registration with T2 for its line of 2013 endurance-training events will begin in December.