The 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience kicks off today, bringing the spirit of the Chicago Marathon to runners around the world. This free experience encourages everyone to get involved, from running and sharing their story, to cheering on others and giving back by volunteering in their local community or to donating to a cause. The week-long celebration will culminate on Sunday, October 11, what would have been the 43rd running of the iconic event.
“This week launches a new and unexpected chapter in the history of our event,” said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “The Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience offers an opportunity for everyone to take part in the run but also give back and use our collective voice to cheer on others as they cross their own finish lines. The commitment and enthusiasm we’ve seen from the global running community is proof that the spirit of the event extends far beyond the streets of Chicago.”
Registered 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants have the exclusive opportunity to run the marathon distance as a part of the Virtual Experience. Shorter distances from the mile to the half marathon are also available for free to everyone from novice runners to veteran marathoners. Runners can download a personalized digital event bib number starting today and will have access to a unique finisher certificate once they submit their results. Registration for all distances is still open and will close on Sunday, October 11.
In addition to the run, event organizers are offering everyone opportunities to cheer on runners virtually, to support event charity partners and to share stories that highlight the diverse individuals and communities that have historically made the Chicago Marathon “the people’s race.” More information on how to get involved is available at chicagomarathon.com/virtual-experience.
“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience will showcase the commitment and resiliency of our running co mmunity, from first-time runners to elite athletes,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “Even though it looks a little different this year, the legacy of running together, celebrating our vibrant city and supporting nonprofits that work tirelessly to build up our communities lives on. We’re extremely proud of that.”
Race week will include the digital launch of the Abbott Health & Fitness Virtual Expo. This virtual marketplace will feature more than 25 exhibitors, offering the public an opportunity to explore the latest in running footwear, apparel, nutrition and technology.
The Abbott Health & Fitness Virtual Expo will feature daily programming to educate, inspire and motivate everyone taking part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience. Programming will debut daily at 11 a.m. (Central Time), starting today, and include appearances from Chicago Marathon champions, elite athletes and amateur runners. Visit chicagomarathon.com/virtualexpo to view the complete program schedule and explore the virtual expo.
“Marathon Sunday is embedded into the fabric of Chicago’s sports culture and landscape. For 42 years, runners have traveled through the city with a story, and a commitment to the finish line,” said Pinkowski. “For 30 years, I have watched you cross the finish line. I am sad that we cannot be together in person, but I am inspired by your determination to cross your own finish line, and I am grateful that we can stay connected virtually.”
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience, including the Abbott Health & Fitness Virtual Expo, is open and available to the public through Sunday, October 11.
The 2020 Virtual Experience launched shortly after event organizers and the City of Chicago announced the cancellation of the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
For additional information on the Virtual Experience, visit chicagomarathon.com.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity runners. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. Annually, an estimated 1.7 million spectators line the streets cheering on more than 45,000 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.
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Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Diane Wagner, Bank of America