Charity running at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon continues to grow.
Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said there will be 8,300 charity runners who are looking to raise $10 million on Sunday.
One of those runners is Hinsdale resident Cathleen O'Hare, a mother of three who is on the cusp of her 40th birthday. She is running her fourth Chicago Marathon and has brought together a group of 50 runners who have already raised more than $60,000 for the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
Her inspiration is Sam Rasmussen, a 9-year old boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal form that strikes young males.
"I have said that I am the persuasion for them to run but Sam is the motivation," O'Hare said. "Once I read about this terrible disease, I felt I needed to do something more significant than just write a check to their family foundation."
O'Hare and her team, a group of 40 women and 10 men, will don bright pink jerseys on race day with the words, "Sam's Team."
Sage advice: Jim Macnider knows a thing or two about marathons. Macinder, head coach for the boys track & field and cross country teams at Schaumburg High School, has run about 15 of them, including finishing second in the first ever Chicago Marathon back in 1977.
He remembers that first race as the "people's marathon where anyone could do it."
His personal best time is 2:19:41, set in 1984 at the now defunct Lake County Marathon. Macinder believes that pacing yourself properly is key. He said you don't want to be hurting real bad at the half marathon mark.
"The second half truly becomes a mental challenge," Macinder said. "In some of the best races I ran, I remember just drinking a little water along the course."
Good deeds: Despite the tough economic times, Bank of America and Nike continue to step up to the plate for the local running community. At the Chicago Marathon kickoff news conference on Thursday, they announced a $100,000 joint commitment in support of youth running in Chicago.
The first project is the refurbishment of the Chicago Public Schools' Hanson Stadium, which plays host to track & field and football events at both the elementary and high school levels.
Nike also launched its Reuse-A-Shoe Drive in which runners are encouraged to turn in their worn-out shoes, no matter what the brand.
Those used shoes will be recycled and transformed into Nike Grind, a material used in sports surfaces and playground. According to Reg Hamlett, general manager of Nike's central region, Nike Grind has been used to refurbish eight basketball courts, one soccer field and one elementary school gym in Chicago as well as the running track at Foster Park in Chicago.
Used shoes can be dropped off at select Bank of America banking center locations and Nike retail stores. Shoes can be also be dropped off at the Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place on Friday and Saturday as well as at the post-race party at Grant Park's Butler Field.
Kudos, Carey: The city of Chicago honored Pinkowski, an Elmhurst resident, for his service to the Chicago Marathon with an honorary street naming at the site of the race's start line.
The intersection of Monroe Street and Columbus Drive now bears the name "Carey Pinkowski Drive.
"Carey is passionate and hard working," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "He has brought the marathon from what it was to where it is today. The Chicago Marathon has set an example for other marathons around the world to follow."