Chicago Marathon expected to draw 45,000 runners this weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 37th annual Chicago Marathon steps off this Sunday, with 45,000 runners from around the globe expected to attend.

They milled about with their media packages, some looking ready to run right now. But the objective of this day was to set the stage for a global event.

"We will see thousands of people from all across the country, around the world that have come to Chicago to celebrate sacrifice and discipline and commitment and discover Chicago but also discover themselves," said Carey Pinkowski, race director.

The runners will step off in Grant Park for what event organizers hope will raise more than the $15 million for charity that was garnered last year. The impact of their spending last year was over a $250 million.

"You are going to see people from 100-plus countries show what the human spirit is about," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

After the fatal bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, security this year will be tighter than ever. General spectators will not be allowed to cluster near the race start or finish in Grant Park.

Among the runners will be men who have run every marathon since that first one in 1977.

"I want to say I ran in the first Chicago Marathon, I didn't know I'd keep saying it every year," said Larry Moon, who has run every Chicago Marathon.

Title sponsor Bank of America had its Illinois president Tim Maloney on-hand - who ran the race last year - to focus on how the race showcases the 29 neighborhoods it runs through.

"It benefits and showcases our city, drives tremendous economic impact in the city, as well as supports charities here locally and throughout the world," Maloney said.

The marathon begins at 7:20 a.m. Sunday for wheelchair athletes, and the first wave of runners starts the 26.2-mile course at 7:30 a.m. Spectators will have access to Grant Park beginning at 9 a.m.
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