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Sustainability

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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 2014, the Chicago Marathon earned silver level event sustainability certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. The event was certified in 2010 and 2012, and is the largest marathon in the world to be certified. Learn more about the silver certification event initiatives attained in 2015 below. Thank you for helping us produce a more sustainable event.


Abbott Health & Fitness Expo

  • McCormick Place, home to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, is the world’s largest convention center to be a 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.
  • Free shuttles transported more than a third of all visitors, over 55,000 people, to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo in 2015.
  • Participant t-shirts from Nike were made from 100% recycled polyester.
  • 64% of all waste at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo —15.79 tons of fiber, wood, plastic, and metal—was recycled.
  • All electricity used at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo is offset with clean, affordable wind energy, a commitment of McCormick Place.
  • Race bibs that were not picked up at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo were sorted by volunteers and recycled.

Race day

  • 100% recycled paper products were dispensed at 1,500 portable restrooms and 40 hand washing stations in Grant Park and on the course route.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon actively provides athletes with services and divisions for wheelchairs and exhibition handcycles.
  • All participants and spectators are 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.
  • Compostable coffee cups and lids were purchased for volunteers to use race day in Grant Park as styrofoam is not permitted.
  • Over 50 Green Team volunteers were stationed in Grant Park’s Runner Refreshment and gear check areas to oversee material collection and diversion efforts, as well as to assist with clothing collection for donation on the start line.
  • Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition provided key volunteers and training materials to help increase our waste diversion efforts.

Community

  • Discarded clothing collected from the start line filled four box trucks and donated to Pacific Garden Mission and AmVet.
  • 23,975 pounds of remaining food and water were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository post-race.
  • Zero Percent distributed leftover event staff meals to New Life Centers.
  • A catalyst for community involvement and volunteerism, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon involves 10,000 volunteers from over 100 local groups.

Beyond race day

  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s main warehouse facility has been powered in part by renewable energy since 2012, and by doing so has cut down on thousands of pounds of carbon emissions.
  • The Hilton Chicago, the Bank of America 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 2015.
  • 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.
  • Downloads of the event’s mobile application, helping disseminate information digitally, rather than in print form, to participants and spectators.
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