Palatine High School's student news site.


Palatine High School's student news site.


Palatine High School's student news site.


Project Excel students help quench the thirst of thousands of runners

Nicole Romero
Students from Project Excel hand out cups of Gatorade to runners at the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

45 Palatine students huddle around the entrance of door six. The sun has not yet broken through the dark sky. Each student barely awake in the freezing morning while in their hoodies and blankets seeking warmth. Bagels and snacks being distributed across the student body for fuel. Once the bus came and drove them to mile 19, time to set up.

On Oct 8, the seniors from Project Excel volunteered 15 hours of their day to help during the Chicago marathon at mile 19. Only one downside, they had to meet up at school at 4:30 am, now who would want to do that?

I decided to do so. I decided to go volunteer and help with the Chicago marathon for two reasons. One, I would accomplish all my 15 hours of volunteer work to graduate and two, it would be really fun. 

Once at mile 19 the coordinators gave us our battle armor for the day, a gray jacket, blue sanitary gloves, and a black cap with the logo Bank of America Chicago Marathon. That day we made two giant tanks of gatorade, multiple four layer tall cases of cups filled with gatorade, and handed out thousands of cups. 

By around 8 am our leader gave us a pep talk. “You guys have an important job, you are all located on mile 19, a mile where many runners want to give up,” said Carlos Jaramillo aid station captain. “But thanks to you all, we give them that motivation to keep going!”

Many students that day couldn’t wait to start the day and hand out the cups. “I kind of feel excited,” said Semi Harun Project Excel member. “I’m confident that we’re going to do well today!” 

Soon around 9:30 am all of Project Excel and other schools and groups participating that day started handing out cups to runners. I vividly remember the feeling of excitement of my cup being taken away from me by a runner.

Many memorable moments happened during this year’s marathon. But the most memorable moment being that kenya runner Kelvin Kiptum broke the previous world record with a time of two hours and 35 seconds. I remember seeing him so vividly in mile 19. We all stood in awe wondering how he and another runner managed to run so fast and in a steady pace that he overcame most wheel cart runners. We wondered how, but who could have thought that he would set the new world record.

By the end of the day, many complained that their arm hurted so much from passing out cups. The event had lots of fun moments such as a lot of screaming and cheering. But even while being fun, we had our fair share of work. By the time we reached the bus and started to head home, most of us fell asleep. 

Each runner had a fiery spirit that day, everyone had a fire lit under their spirit. Every runner, every participant, and every person spectating. Each person participating in this event had an event filled with excitement, high spirits, and pure joy. 

Whether through watching or participating, one must watch the Chicago marathon just once in their life. “Looking back at it,” said Daniella Burrola Project Excel member . “It was a really fun and exciting experience, even if our arms hurt afterwards.”

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About the Contributor
Nicole Romero
Nicole Romero, Reporter
Nicole Romero is a senior at Palatine High School. Romero decided to join Journalism from the many endorsements of a heartfelt educator who encouraged her to try something new. Romero is passionate about computer science and hopes to follow in the footsteps of open world game developers. Outside of school, Romero loves the field of art and its variety on the Earth as a whole. Romero sees the beauty in all landscapes, from the ancient city of Rome in Italy to the piquant state of Jalisco in Mexico. Romero hopes to visit these locations someday, whether through Journalism or by her own means. 

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