It was serious business when the Bank of America Chicago Marathon held its kickoff news conference Thursday morning.
But it came with its lighter moments.
The serious side fit right into the exploding charitable side of the marathon.
“We think this race has only scratched the surface of what we can do [for charity],’’ Bank of America Illinois president Tim Maloney said.
The Chicago Marathon raised $13.4 million for non-profits last year.
Bank of America plans to do its part through its “Express Your Thanks’’ campaign for military members and veterans. Maloney announced a new aspect at the news conference with executive race director Carey Pinkowski, Wounded Warrior Project representative Jason Mauricio and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The bank will donate up to $250,000, via $1 for signed water bottles at any of its 172 offices in the area or at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Health and Fitness Expo at McCormick Place on Friday and Saturday.
As he extended his signing of his red water bottle in a photo op, Emanuel cracked, “I’m working on the Declaration of Independence here.’’
Then people in the audience asked for water bottles, and Pinkowski did a fine Jay Cutler imitation and fired blue bottles out.
“The true 1 percent are those who volunteered [for military service],’’ Emanuel said.
Patrick Rizzo, 29, the Schaumburg native who became an All-American at North Central, is the local favorite Sunday. But Thomas Frazer, 30, of Lake Forest, hopes to make his own case.
In 2009, Rizzo followed up winning the Chicago Half Marathon with his highest finish in the Chicago Marathon (10th).
Frazer would like to follow Rizzo’s 2009 route. He won the Chicago Half Marathon last month in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 12 seconds, besting the field by more than a minute. In 2011, he ran his personal best (2:19:42) in the Chicago Marathon. He’d like to top that by two minutes.
The nine — Joe Antonini, Randy Burt, Henry Kozlowski, Larry Moon, George Mueller, Andrew Praxmarer, Daniel Skrzypczynski, John Tilgner and Ron Williams — who ran the first 34 Chicago Marathons were recognized.
The three favorite neighborhoods along the race course, in an informal quizzing, are Boystown, Pilsen and Chinatown. Which led to our favorite quote. One notable said, “Pilsener.’’ And it wasn’t even lunchtime.
Some years, there’s a buzz about the possibility of a world record. Not this year.
The men’s race is expected to be a very competitive one with a chance for a course record (2:05:37, Moses Mosop, Kenya, Oct. 9, 2011), but even challenging the world record (2:03:38, Patrick Makau, Kenya, Sept. 25, 2011, Berlin Marathon) seems unlikely.
On the women’s side, Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s world record (2:15:25, April 13, 2003, London Marathon) is considered out of reach.
Brush with greatness
Radcliffe, who holds not only the world but the Chicago record (2:17:18, Oct. 13, 2002), is expected to be in Chicago this weekend.