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Bank of America Chicago Marathon fills up in record 31 days

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

The race isn’t until Oct. 9, but the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has already set two records.

All 45,000 spots on the starting line — with the exception of a handful of places reserved for charities — were snapped up in a record 31 days as registration closed Thursday.

Last year’s runners raised a record $12 million in charitable donations. The money goes to local, national and global charities.

Fueled by a steady and apparently recession-proof nationwide growth in running, which for the first time last year saw more than half-a-million Americans complete a marathon, according to, the quick sellout of Chicago’s marathon caught many would-be runners by surprise.

“I was pretty shocked that it sold out in March,” said fashion designer Nora Del Busto, 36, who planned to run the marathon after pregnancy forced her to pull out last year. “I guess I’ll have to look into other options.”

Last year’s field filled in 51 days, according to race director Carey Pinkowski, who said just 3,800 runners completed the 26.2-mile course when he first organized the race in 1990.

The Boston Marathon — long considered the gold standard for serious runners — filled all 22,000 registrations this year in a record eight hours and three minutes and has tightened its qualification requirements for next year in response.

But Pinkowski said there are no plans to change Chicago’s open-to-all approach or to require a qualification time for future events.

Details on charities that still have registrations for this year’s race are available at

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