The Council for Responsible Sport announced today that the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been awarded evergreen level certification for achieving 57 of the best-practice standards offered in the council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the largest in the world, with 39,313 participants finishing the 2016 event in front of over a million spectators. It is the largest marathon to have earned certification from the council since the organization was founded in 2008. This is the fourth certification for the event after basic certification was achieved in 2010 and 2012, then silver level status was gained in 2014.

“The council continues to be impressed by the way organizers have incorporated social and environmental values into their decision-making and staging of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Those choices positively influence the event’s supply chain, as well as inspire participants and spectators to incorporate healthy, low-impact behaviors such as recycling and taking alternative transportation into their lifestyles,” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director at the Council for Responsible Sport.

Certification is achieved by complying with standards across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, access and equity, resource management and community legacy. Highlights from the 2016 certification effort included:

  • Participant T-shirts, a product of Nike’s Considered Design line, were made from 100 percent recycled polyester fibers.
  • Organizers, with the help of more than 60 Green Team volunteers, diverted 77 percent of all waste from the race course and the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo from the landfill—more than 76 tons of materials—through reuse, recycling and compost programs.
  • McCormick Place, home to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, is the world’s largest convention center to be a certified sustainable venue under the APEX-ASTM standard.
  • 34,000 pounds of remaining food and water were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository post-race, a 36 percent increase from the 25,000 pounds donated in 2014.
  • 42,000 apples from Michigan were provided as a locally sourced treat for athletes to refuel themselves. Michigan produces more than 900 million pounds of apples annually, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  • 10,000 people from the Chicago community volunteered at the 2016 event, from over 100 local groups.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon gives back to the Chicago Park District by annually supporting 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. Participating youth receive finisher medals, certificates and T-shirts, along with the thrill of racing.

“As an event, we are both honored and excited to have earned Evergreen Level Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “Since 2010, we have worked closely with our runners, volunteers, spectators and partners to make the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as sustainable as possible. This certification recognizes the hard work that has been done and encourages us to continue these efforts in supporting the environment and communities our race runs through.”

“Honoring the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s impact on our community and the environment demonstrates how one positive action can make a huge difference in the lives of many,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “We’re proud to be part of this great initiative, and it builds on Bank of America’s commitment of becoming better environmental stewards in our local communities.”


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