Thousands of runners hit Chicago’s West Side on Sunday for the first Bank of America Chicago 13.1, which made its long-awaited debut after two years of pandemic delays.
The half marathon saw thrilling finishes and plenty of excitement as wheelchair athletes and runners kicked off the new running event in the city.
Among the elite finishes was a close match in the wheelchair race, which saw Bank of America Chicago Marathon alumni Daniel Romanchuk and Aaron Pike finish in less than a second one of the other. Although their times were the same at 44:24, Romanchuk narrowly took the win.
On the women’s wheelchair side, Susannah Scaroni took a clear victory with no challenger in sight at a time of 46:07.
John Dressel took first place for the men’s race, with a time of 1:02:17. Carrie Verdon took first place for the women, finishing with a time of 1:11:15.
The half marathon route began and ended in the city’s Garfield Park, taking participants through Humboldt and Douglass Parks and on a tour of several neighborhoods that line the boulevards connecting the three parks.
In addition to the race, a free outdoor festival was held for participants and residents of the community. The festival, also in Garfield Park, opened at 8 a.m. and features “a mix of entertainment, health and wellness, and community activations,” organizers said.
There will also be an athletics clinic for youth sports groups, hosted by USA Track & Field.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the participation and support,” race executive director Carey Pinkowski told NBC 5. “When we decided to do this, part of the motivation was this marathon, it was an idea and a concept and we worked on it, starting to pull ourselves together, started planning, and then we had to take a break with the COVID response. So our team stuck together, and here we are. C is exciting.