Counted among the 45,000 runners registered for the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon were the members of Team 26Strong. This year marked the third year for the collaboration between Competitor and Saucony, pairing 13 experienced marathon mentors (coaches) with 13 first-time marathon runners (cadets). Coaches provided training plans and guidance for the cadets who met the challenge with the enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment of those new to the process—remember, for the cadets every long run was their longest run ever! The group inspired and motivated each other through the training cycle, until they finally met up in Chicago. The weekend included plenty of running, good food and celebrating marathon success.

Scroll through the gallery to see images from the weekend. Go here to find out more about 26Strong and the Team’s journey.