Since assuming the title sponsorship of the Chicago Marathon following its completed acquisition of LaSalle Bank, Bank of America has set its focus on continuing the race's steeped tradition, offering the very best running experience to participants and giving back to the community that has generously supported the race for three decades. This commitment is reflected in the 2008 race theme, 29 Neighborhoods, 1 World Class Race, which acknowledges the vibrancy of
"Our support in producing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon mirrors the same principles that we apply to our daily business practices," said Bank of America Illinois Market President
Strengthening the Runner Experience
The 45,000 registered participants will benefit directly from the operational improvements made to the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Race organizers have initiated a significant number of modifications focused on increasing supplies and participant support and enhancing advance and on-site communications to both runners and volunteers.
An increased number of 20 Aid Stations will dot the course spaced approximately 1 to 2 miles apart, compared to 15 Aid Stations in 2007. Each Aid Station will be equipped with licensed medical professionals and equipment, hydration supplies including Hinckley Springs(R) water and Gatorade(R), and restroom facilities. An additional medical tent will be located near the 26-mile mark while the main medical tent remains near the finish line.
As a leader in the marathon industry and as part of the World Marathon Majors Series, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is taking full advantage of the opportunity to serve as an educational leader for runners. Recognizing that approximately 40 percent of its running field consists of first-time marathoners, the Chicago Marathon has increased its efforts not only to help prepare them for a marathon distance, but for the
Through the registration process, electronic and print communications, speaking engagements and its partnership with local broadcaster NBC5, the Marathon has educated participants throughout the year on the vital importance of complete training for an endurance race. A proper marathon training regime includes everything from completing a physical and obtaining the consent of a physician to committing to a proven marathon training program to familiarizing oneself to the sport of road racing and specifically the procedures and design of the Chicago Marathon.
Operationally, organizers of the race have made several enhancements and additions to the way it will function on race day in order to provide the maximum amount of support to runners. The most innovative and visual result has been the introduction of a first-of-its-kind Event Alert System (EAS). Designed to provide runners, spectators and volunteers with the most up-to-date course conditions, the EAS indicates the anticipated course conditions via a color reading during the week leading up to the race and on race day.
Ranging from Low (green) to Moderate (yellow) to High (red) to Extreme (black), the EAS reading is communicated in advance of the race via Web site, electronic communications and at the two-day Bank of America Health & Fitness Expo where all participants must pick up race day essentials. On race day, visual and audio communication channels will continue to depict the current course conditions in
In addition to the EAS color-coded reading, a series of preparation tips from the race Medical Director will inform runners on how to prepare for the conditions of the day whether they be warm, cold, moderate, wet or windy.
"We learned a lot from the experience of the 2007 race," said Executive Race Director
Once runners have met their finish line goals, Bank of America has organized a celebration worthy of those accomplishments. Just beyond the finish line in Butler Field (Jackson Blvd. and Columbus Dr.) the Bank of America 27th Mile post-race party will welcome runners, their families and friends for an afternoon of live music, food and beverages from
Enhancing the Spectator Experience
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually draws approximately 1.5 million spectators to the course. New for spectators in 2008 are several course locations that will provide support for cheering and viewing the race, while also celebrating
Title sponsor Bank of America will host four Cheer Zones for spectators on the north, west and south sides of the course in
Bank of America customers are entitled to VIP treatment in the way of finish line seating and a premium seating area at the Bank of America 27th Mile. By visiting the Bank of America Customer Appreciation Zone at the Health & Fitness Expo (
For the spectators at home, the race will be broadcast live on NBC5 and online at universalsports.com. For improved viewing of the championship race, the elite athletes will start five minutes in advance of the mass field for the first time in race history. Race day competition will begin with the wheelchair and hand cycle divisions at
Impacting the Community Experience
Giving back to the community that graciously and enthusiastically embraces the race each fall is a priority for organizers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Through their participation in the Marathon, more than 110 non-profit organizations are organizing teams with goals to eclipse
As a special tribute to U.S. military veterans, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will host a small field of veterans wounded in the line of duty as they compete in a first-ever hand cycle division. While the Chicago Marathon has long featured a field of competitive push rim wheelchair athletes, this is the first time it will introduce hand cycles as a special service to the wounded men and women of the U.S. military.
By educating and encouraging health and fitness among
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
The 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in
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