CHICAGO - It’s marathon time in Chicago and for runners like sisters Anna and Elisa Ragone from Brazil, celebrations were already underway.
"Over the last few months, our long runs were apart so tomorrow we’ll get to run together again for the first time in a long time," the sisters said.
The 44th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon kicked off with the Abbott Chicago 5K Saturday. On Sunday, 40,000 runners from nearly 100 countries will travel through 29 neighborhoods here in the Windy City
"I am very nervous and very excited but I know I’ve trained hard all this year," Joselyne Sard from Guatamala said.
Runners packed Holy Name Cathedral for their annual marathon blessing. Father John Boivin encouraged parishioners to embrace gratitude throughout the 26-mile course. During the mass, wristbands which said "believe" were distributed.
"One time they gave out a wristband saying "Lord please guide my steps", I wore that band for years," Mike K. from San Francisco said.
The race will start and end at Grant Park with the first wave of runners shooting out at 7:30 a.m. One million spectators are expected along the race route.
"We couldn’t do it without the spectators. Spectators are a part of the energy," Raul Castillo from the suburbs said.
Chicago police will deploy uniform and plain clothes officers to ensure safety. Parking restrictions begin early Sunday. Click here for a look at the marathon route.