Incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices is an important part of the operational planning, preparation and execution of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Learn more about event initiatives below and help us continue to make the Chicago Marathon a leader in event sustainability.
Abbott Health & Fitness Expo
- Divvy, Chicago’s bike share program and the marathon’s Healthy Transportation Partner, will offer valet service at Divvy’s McCormick Place station during the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo hours and at two Grant Park stations on race day to ensure visitors can always take or dock a bike.
- McCormick Place, home to the Health & Fitness Expo, has become the world’s largest convention center to be certified sustainable venue under the APEX-ASTM standard pertaining to the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences.
- Participant T-shirts, a product of Nike’s Considered Design line, were made from recycled polyester
- Nearly 70% of all waste at the Expo—16.47 tons of fiber, wood, plastic, and metal—was recycled.
- All electricity used at the Health & Fitness Expo is offset with clean, affordable wind energy, a commitment of McCormick Place.
- Race bibs that were not picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo were sorted by volunteers and recycled by partner Allied Waste.
- 100% recycled paper products were dispensed at 1,500 portable restrooms and 40 hand washing stations in Grant Park and on the course route
- All participants and spectators were encouraged to take advantage of a variety of public transportation options and increased levels of service from both CTA and Metra to get to and from the start and finish line areas in Grant Park.
- Aid Station material diversion rate, material diverted from the landfill, climbed from 20% in 2010 to over 50% in 2013. This included more than 9 tons of compostable cups and banana peels, and 28 tons of cardboard boxes and plastic jugs for recycling. In that same timeframe, trash decreased by over 20 tons.
- Compostable coffee cups and lids were purchased for volunteers to use race day in Grant Park as styrofoam is not permitted.
- Green Team volunteers were stationed in Grant Park’s Runner Refreshment Area and gear check areas to oversee material collection and diversion efforts.
- Discarded clothing collected from the start line filled more than three box trucks and was donated to Pacific Garden Mission and AmVet.
- More than 47,000 pounds of remaining food and water was donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository post-race.
- Welcoming the largest field of athletes with disabilities in 2013, the Chicago Marathon actively provides athletes’ with services and divisions for wheelchair and exhibition handcycle.
- Inspiring the next generation of runners and promoting youth fitness, Nike and the Chicago Marathon host the Northside/Southside Challenge, a 2.62-mile race for more than 300 local high school student-athletes to compete in an invitational meet on the marathon course while the race is in progress.
Beyond race day
- The Chicago Marathon’s main warehouse facility has been powered entirely by renewable energy since January 2012, and by doing so has cut down on thousands of pounds of carbon emissions.
- The Hilton Chicago, the Chicago Marathon’s official host hotel, became the first hotel in Illinois to be recognized for the Governor’s Sustainability Award as well as the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association’s Good Earthkeeping Hotel for 2013.
- Opportunity Enterprises, a local charity that creates sustainable life choices and opportunities for individuals with physical and mental challenges, hosts an annual “Pack-A-Thon” where all bags for race participants were assembled. This event is one of OE’s largest annual fundraisers.
- Street pole banners and unusable coroplast signage are recycled with a local plastics recycler post-race.
- A catalyst for community involvement and volunteerism, the Chicago Marathon involves nearly 10,000 volunteers from over 100 local groups.
In 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will strive for event sustainability re-certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (councilforresponsiblesport.org). The Chicago Marathon was certified in 2012 and 2010 and is the largest marathon in the world to be certified. Thank you to our participants, spectators, sponsors, and volunteers for helping us produce a more sustainable event.