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Bank of America Chicago Marathon runners

Incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices is an important part of the operational planning, preparation, and execution of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In 2016, the Chicago Marathon was awarded Evergreen Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. With more than 39,000 participants finishing the 2016 event, the Chicago Marathon is the largest marathon to have earned certification from the Council. We would like to thank participants, spectators, sponsors and volunteers for helping us “green” and broaden our event.

Tracking and Reducing our Environmental Impact

  • 77% of waste was diverted from the landfill.  Over 50 tons of waste collected was either composted or recycled, 17 tons of food and water was donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and 10 tons of clothing was collected from the start line, loaded onto four trucks and donated to the Pacific Garden Mission and Illinois Amvets.
  • 300 pounds of LDPE, including Heatsheets and stretch wrap, was collected and hauled to Antek-Madison for recycling.
  • 12,642 PowerBar Energy Gel wrappers were collected at Aid Station 13 and shipped to Terracycle, where the packets are shredded and melted into hard plastic to make new recycled products.
  • 150 pounds of network cables were donated to the American Red Cross.
  • 46,502 gallons of water was used at the event.  Volunteers stationed at water filling stations served 6,213 liters of water, reducing the number of plastic water bottles used at the event by 12,426.
  • Travel emissions of registered participants who started the race was calculated at 31,937.41 tCO2e
  • Green-E Climate certified offsets sourced from the Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge were purchased from Terrapass to offset the carbon footprint of event operations for the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. 116 metric tons of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gases were avoided by this investment in offsets (this is the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 3,006 tree seedlings grown for 10 years or the CO2 emissions from 123,783  pounds of coal burned).
  • All electricity used at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo is offset with clean, affordable wind energy, a commitment of McCormick Place.
  • Free shuttle service provided transportation for 49,413 passengers to and from four locations in downtown Chicago and McCormick Place, home of the 2016 Abbott Health & Fitness Expo. The shuttle, scheduled to run every half hour, made a total of 1,087 round trips.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon participant shirt was made from 100% recycled polyester, a material produced from plastic bottles, using less energy, water, and oil than virgin polyester.

Engaging the local community

  • The Alliance for the Great Lakes, a not for profit organization dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes, encouraged attendees of the 2016 Abbott Health & Fitness Expo to sign up for their Adopt the Beach program and to take a quiz highlighting local water related issues.
  • 42,000 Michigan apples were handed out, providing runners a locally sourced, healthy treat to refuel their bodies.
  • New for 2016, a Community Programs Coordinator was hired to assist with our community outreach programs and work with the various community leaders in all 50 aldermanic wards.

Providing access & equity

  • Gender neutral changing stations were available at all gear check areas, negating the need for athletes to identify with a gender specific changing tent.
  • Over 2,700 runners participated in the inaugural International Chicago 5K, allowing friends and family to experience the Bank of America Chicago Marathon weekend.
  • 5 Duo Teams completed the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, allowing runners to push an individual in a customized racing wheelchair.


Community legacy

  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon invests in AED equipment and training for deployment on course and in Grant Park. In 2015, 50 AED machines were donated to the Chicago Police Department, where they were placed in various police stations located throughout Chicago.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon gives back to the Chicago Park District by annually supporting the Chicago Park District Cross Country Championships.
  • In 2016, more than 10,000 runners raised a record breaking $16.9 million through the Charity Program.
  • All participants and volunteers are encouraged to view an instructional video on Hands Only CPR through our Event Alert System email communication, providing a lasting impact on the Chicago running community.

Bank of America World Marathon Majors IAAF