2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Takes its Place as an Evergreen Level Inspire Event for Commitment to Sustainability


October 8, 2018

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has earned Inspire certification at the Evergreen Level from the Council for Responsible Sport, an Oregon-based non-profit promoting sustainability in sports. The Council’s Inspire program formally recognizes the successful implementation of socially and environmentally responsible practices over at least four consecutive event years.


“As the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course makes its way through the various neighborhoods of the city, we realize the responsibility we have to support – or – uphold the environment of these vital communities,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director, Carey Pinkowski. “As we grow our sustainability program each year, it is rewarding to see the positive impact of our efforts and the enthusiasm everyone has to make the race as sustainable as possible.”

Inspire status is selectively awarded to events that have earned multiple certifications from the Council to recognize the legacy that sporting events committed to thoughtful resource management and social equity provide to their communities. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has earned consecutive, uninterrupted certifications since 2010 (2010-Certified, 2012-Certified, 2014-Silver, 2016-Evergreen). Inspire certified events are expected to report on key sustainability metrics such as energy use, the amount of waste generated and diverted from landfill, and community giving. They also share their story, and mentor other events on aspects of their sustainability programs.

Efforts of the ongoing initiative to implement and improve upon best practices in social and environmental responsibility at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon touch most of the event’s operations.


Highlights include:


  • Seventy percent of all waste generated by the event is diverted from the landfill via recycling, compost, and reuse efforts.

  • Participant shirts are made from 100 percent recycled polyester as part of Nike’s Better World product line that seeks to reduce the energy, water and chemicals use associated with producing textiles.

  • Participants, spectators, and volunteers are highly encouraged to use public transportation race weekend. The practice of promoting alternatives to driving serves to reduce both climate changing greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fossil fueled vehicles and traffic congestion.

  • Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the events’ operations are calculated and mitigated. In 2017,132 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were offset with certified renewable energy credits sourced from the Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge in Oklahoma.

  • Nature’s Little Recyclers, a local commercial worm farm, will be composting about 10 tons of organic waste delivered to them on behalf of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The worms break the waste down to approximately one ton of nutrient rich compost soil, which was donated to the Chicago Park District in Spring 2018 and will occur again in Spring 2019.

  • New in 2018, all Chicago Marathon hotel partners, restaurants and vendors have been invited to join the Shedd Aquarium’s ‘Shedd the Straw’ initiative for race weekend to reduce plastic use and encourage more sustainable alternatives.

As dusk settles in after the running of the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7, insulation blankets by Heatsheets have been collected and bagged, ready to be recycled into a bench to be donated to a Chicago park nearby.

As dusk settles in after the running of the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7, insulation blankets by Heatsheets have been collected and bagged, ready to be recycled into a bench to be donated to a Chicago park nearby.


Social & Community Impact

  • Since the charity program was officially established in 2002, more than 116,000 runners have raised over $185 million for local, national and global causes.

  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually supports the Chicago Park District Cross Country Championships. By helping host three qualifying youth races, the Chicago Marathon shares the joy and reward of exercise and fitness with the next generation.

  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon contributes to Chicago’s economy, delivering an estimated $338 million in total business impact to the city each year.


“For endurance events that want to more fully step into a role as leaders and influencers in their communities—study and follow the example being set in Chicago. The ongoing commitment by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to strategically test, review and revise operations to become more sustainable is truly inspirational. Every year there is documented improvement, new insights gained, and new opportunities unmasked—this is what it looks like to take social and environmental responsibility seriously.” Said Shelley Villalobos, Managing Director of the Council for Responsible Sport.




About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

In its 41st year on Sunday, October 7, 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 40,000 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $338 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7. In advance of the race, a two-day Abbott Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.