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CHICAGO, IL (January 31, 2008) -- In its first official move as steward of the 30-year-old Chicago Marathon, Bank of America today announced the legendary race will have a new name and fresh look for 2008. The now-titled Bank of America Chicago Marathon™ will take place on Sunday, October 12 with registration for the first 45,000 runners opening at midnight (CST) on Friday, February 1.
With a focus on the future under a new name and in recognition of a legacy spanning three decades, the updated race logo incorporates images of the past and present. The redesigned mark maintains the recognizable male and female runner graphic that has depicted the race for more than 10 years while incorporating the red, white and blue flagscape that has made Bank of America one of the most recognizable brands in the United States.
�"It is our privilege and honor to continue the grand tradition of this iconic race and maintain the tenets that have established it as one of the five most prestigious marathons in the world," said Bank of America Illinois President David Rudis. �"We also plan to strengthen and grow the race by developing additional community and philanthropic programs and welcoming new sponsors. Today is the first day of what we believe will be an exciting new era for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon."
When registration opens to the public this Friday, it will officially launch a nine-month countdown to the race that annually registers 45,000 runners, attracts 1.5 million spectators and generates an estimated $140 million economic impact on the city of Chicago. As the running field annually represents all 50 states and more than 120 countries with 7,000 international runners, race weekend is recognized as one of the city's most valuable tourism vehicles.
In recent years, the Marathon has also become one of the largest single-day fundraisers in the city. In 2007, the race's charity program generated more than $10.5 million for 85 participating organizations and more than $38.5 million has been raised since its formal inception in 2002. Bank of America's 2008 plans include the continuation of the program and the development of additional charitable efforts in conjunction with the bank's established corporate philanthropic outreach that has pledged $1.5 billion nationally over 10 years. In 2007 alone, the bank contributed $200 million to hundreds of communities across the nation, including $30 million in Illinois, the majority of which benefited Chicago-based organizations and programs.
Bank of America's stewardship of the Marathon is a result of its acquisition of LaSalle Bank last fall. In so doing, Bank of America has added the Chicago Marathon to an impressive global sponsorship family that includes partnerships with the largest sports organizations in the world, including Major League Baseball®, NASCAR®, National Football League®, the PGA TOUR® and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team®.
�"Bank of America has displayed an overwhelming enthusiasm for the Marathon since day one and the exciting developments we are working on for 2008 will be a great service to our runners," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski of Chicago Events Management, now in his 19th year overseeing the event. �"The runners who choose to compete in our race and commit to the months of preparation are always our top priority and I am proud that providing the best possible experience for them will continue to be our number one goal."
The 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 12.
Registration will open to the public on Friday, February 1 and close when the participant capacity of 45,000 is reached. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11. More information on the race, registration and how to get involved is available at chicagomarathon.com.