CHICAGO, IL (April 6, 2010) � The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced U.S. Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall, 27, will compete in the October 10, 2010 race in an attempt to lower the 2:05:38 American record set by Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. The Mammoth Lakes, Calif., resident and recognized philanthropist will lead a team of 100 runners representing his non-profit organization, The Hall Steps Foundation.
�"I have been preparing for an attempt to lower the American record since I ran my first marathon in London in 2007, and there is no other U.S. course that could allow me a better opportunity than Chicago," commented Hall from Boston where he is in final preparation for the Boston Marathon on April 19. �"It's remarkably flat and fast with a veteran production team that sets a stage for athletes to produce personal and national records, which is my goal. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon also has a long history of generating millions of dollars for charitable causes, so it felt like the ideal place to expand our Hall Steps Foundation running team from the 20 that will run in Boston to 100 in Chicago."
In conjunction with his athletic pursuit at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Hall will lead a team of 100 runners to raise funds for the non-profit organization he founded with his wife, Sara. The Hall Steps Foundation's main mission is to take small steps toward the marathon goal of ending poverty. To that end, it supports international efforts to provide clean water, end human trafficking and fund rescue homes. In the U.S., it seeks to establish a mentor running program for at risk youth.
As one of 150 charities forming teams for the October race, The Hall Steps Foundation will contribute to a total $10 million raised on race day. The money raised by Hall Steps runners will directly support the launch of its youth mentor and running program, a mission that falls in line with a recent program launched by the event's title sponsor, Bank of America.
Last month, Bank of America announced a new Chicago Youth Fitness Initiative in which the bank is matching a two-dollar donation from each entry fee to its Chicago-based road races to support local youth fitness organizations. Through its involvement with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (45,000 participants) and Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K (36,000 participants), the bank is generating $324,000 to be split among four local youth fitness organizations: ChicagoRun, Girls on the Run, MGR Foundation, and Special Children's Charities/Special Olympics Chicago. The initiative is the latest in the bank's support of after school programming in Chicago.
�"Through the Chicago Youth Fitness Initiative, we have been able to combine the tradition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with support for local after-school programs in a very impactful way. As a result, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been generated to expand programs that provide a great service to our children," said Bank of America Chicago and Illinois Market President Tim Maloney.
�"We are thrilled to welcome a world-class athlete like Ryan Hall who shares the mission of giving back, and we look forward to partnering with him to do so around the race."
Hall's current personal record is the 2:06:17 mark he set in London in 2008 before qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon team with a commanding 2:09:02 first-place finish in New York. Among the world's greatest runners and amid extremely warm conditions during the Beijing Olympic Games, Hall placed 10th with a 2:12:33 finish time. This month he will compete at the Boston Marathon in an attempt to become the first U.S. champion in the race since Greg Meyer in 1983. His next 26.2-mile race will be in Chicago.
�"Ryan is a very smart athlete and has gone about his career the right way starting with an amazing debut in London in 2007," said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. �"He has positioned himself for a breakout race in Chicago this fall and has all the focus and drive needed to make a run at the American record. What is unique about Ryan is his interest beyond personal success and his tireless charitable efforts. He's an athlete and a humanitarian."
Open registration for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon closed on March 23, but a limited number of entries are still available through its charity partners, including The Hall Steps Foundation. For information on how to register through a charity, visit www.chicagomarathon.com.
About Bank of America Chicago Marathon
A member of the World Marathon Majors, the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10, welcoming runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. According to an academic study, the race generates more than $140 million in economic impact to the city of Chicago and more than $10 million for charities. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9. More information on the race, remaining registration options and how to get involved is available at chicagomarathon.com.
About The Hall Steps Foundation
The Hall Steps Foundation aims to empower the running community to use the energy and resources that fuel its running achievements for social justice efforts. Currently in its first year of operation, the Steps Foundation funds initiatives that tackle structural causes of poverty such as chronic lack of access to basic entitlements including clean water, shelter and physical security. Specifically, Steps partners with leading international and local nonprofits in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to fund projects that invest in sustainable methods of enhancing access to basic essentials. To-date, this has included (1) constructing community wells in East Africa to secure water access; (2) funding an orphanage in Kenya to ensure access to shelter and basic education; and (3) sponsoring legal counsel for victims of human trafficking in Southeast Asia to enhance victims' physical autonomy. Domestically, the Hall Steps Foundation is proud to launch its inaugural youth mentor and running program in Chicago in conjunction with the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This program aims to position athletic activity, goal-setting and training camaraderie at the center of the national movement to improve the health and opportunities of U.S. youth.