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Six ways the 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon was sustainable

Each year, we work to make the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as sustainable as possible. Welcoming 40,000 participants, over 1 million spectators and thousands of volunteers and event staff, we recognize the impact we have and do our best to offset it. Check out some of the key initiatives of the 2022 event.

1. Sustainability led the pack, quite literally, with four Kia EV6 lead vehicles helping to reduce the overall emissions of the event. To learn more about the EV6 and Kia’s sustainable mobility solutions, visit Digital LED displays on the vehicle roofs provided real time information on the lead athletes’ pace on course and the winning paces at the 27th Mile Post-Race Party.

2. 150 Green Team event staff and volunteers helped educate participants about the event’s sustainability initiatives as well as sort and divert materials from the landfill at Zero waste stations located throughout Grant Park on race day. Chris Moiser, the first transathlete to make the men’s Team USA, was a volunteer at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo sustainability activation, and highlighted the event’s key initiatives on his Instagram reel. Tina Muir, the founder and CEO of Running for Real, worked at the marathon and provides a behind the scenes look at the set up of Grant Park and sustainability in action at the Zero waste stations and 27th Mile Post-Race Party.

The Green Team’s efforts resulted in:

    • Over 200 prepared meals delivered to Pacific Garden Mission to help feed the homeless and underserved
    • 21,882 lbs of produce and packaged food from Runner Refresh donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
    • 740 lbs of water donated to the Chicago Food Sovereignty Coalition
    • 36 tons of material diverted from the landfill through our recycling and composting programs
    • Approximately 18 tons of clothing from the start line donated to IL AMVETS

3. The 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sustainability Guidebook was published to provide guidance and inspire other events to take action and help reduce their overall environmental impact. Take a look to learn more about our ongoing initiatives such as reducing the amount of printed materials we produce each year and eliminating carpet at the expo to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

4.  We reduced emissions by purchasing goods manufactured from recycled materials like rPET instead of virgin polyester, which helps reduce emissions by up to 30%. This year, our finisher medal ribbons were made from 100% recycled PET, the participant bags contained 25% post-consumer content, and participant shirts were made from 100% recycled materials.

5.  Participant travel to the event resulted in 23,882 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the largest source of Scope 3 carbon emissions. This year, participants were provided an option to offset their emissions through purchasing a carbon offset product in their participant account. Also new in 2022, carbon offsets will be purchased by the event to offset our elite athlete travel.

6.  Runner refresh bags were made from plant-based plastic combined with Lyfecycle technology. While the bag looks and feels like conventional plastic, it is made from renewable resources, can be recycled, and will biodegrade fully on land within two years, leaving no microplastics and toxins behind – something that has never been done before.

Learn more about our annual sustainability initiatives here: