One of the largest marathons in the world is about to kick off on the 9th of October. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has come along way since 1977, when there were 4,200 runners taking part in the event for the first time. This year’s race reached its 45,000 participant capacity within weeks, as athletes and amateurs from countries all over the world, registered to participate in the 26.2 mile marathon and do their bit for charity.
In 2010, 10, 000 charity runners raised more than $12 million on behalf of local, national and global causes and behind the scenes, thousands of dedicated volunteers lent a helping hand and provided support to the runners. This year will be no exception, as the marathon’s officials have seen a record-breaking number of entrants and are expecting over 1.5 million spectators to line the course to watch the exciting race.
Among the runners taking part, will be U.S. soccer stars, Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan who are hoping to inspire the 13 individuals chosen to run for the Bank of America in their ‘Let’s Run Together’ charity relay. Hope Solo remarked, ” Abby, Alex and I hope to encourage thousands of individuals to embrace the idea of partnership as a way of making a difference in their communities.”
There will also be 15 Greek runners traveling all the way from their homeland to raise money for the Hellenic Foundation Organization, a longstanding social services charity serving the Greek American community. Their significance in the race is made much more profound by last month’s unveiling of ‘The Runners’, a 16-foot sculpture by Dr. Theodoros Papagiannis, a professor at the prestigious School of Fine Arts in Athens, at O’Hare Airport’s International terminal. The dramatic piece of art, which depicts five runners emerging from antiquity into the modern world was donated by the Athens Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and supported by Chicago’s large Greek-American community.
To open the now historic Bank of America Chicago marathon, the Chicago Cultural Center will host a torch lighting ceremony on Thursday, October 6th at 4 p.m. Greek marathoners will set off from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Greektown and finish at the brand new National Hellenic Museum (Halsted & Van Buren Street intersection). Everyone is welcome to attend the torch run to cheer on the runners and to set the stage for the main marathon.
Following this event, a VIP reception benefiting the foundation will be held at 5:30 p.m. The reception will be held in conjunction with the Athens Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and proceeds will benefit the Hellenic Foundation’s Psychotherapy & Counseling Charitable Fund.
VIP RECEPTION ATTENDEES: Hellenic Foundation VIP (Golden Footprint Level) and Corporate sponsors, Hellenic Foundation Board of Directors and Executive Director, Sister Cities committee members, City of Chicago and Greek community dignitaries, the Mayor of Marathonas, SEGAS rep and marathon runners. A few notable reception attendees will include: Mr. Jim Kozonis, Chairman of the Athens Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International, and Cultural Center Honorary Chairman; Mr. Iordanis Louizos, Mayor of the town of Marathonas; Ms. Ioanna Efthymiadou, Counsel General of Greece.