Runners gear up for half-marathon this weekend on Chicago's West Side

Thousands will take part in a new race this weekend in Chicago that will expose many to a new part of town.

On Friday, participants were picking up their numbers and t-shirts in the South Loop, getting geared up to cover 13.1 miles.

"I'm so excited. It's my first half-marathon and it's my aunt's first one, too," said Belinda Pierre.

It's a first for Chicago, too. Sunday is the first running of the "Bank of America Chicago 13.1."

The same team that puts on the full marathon that starts and ends downtown decided to shift attention elsewhere.


"I really have to credit our team. They said you've got to do something in a different part of the city, in a different venue. So many people come from around the city to support us. Let's put this event in a different part of the city," said Carey Pinkkowski, Race Director.

So set up is underway on Chicago's West Side. The half-marathon will start and end in historic Garfield Park. About 4,000 participants will move past ponds and leafy boulevards, connecting to Humboldt and Douglass parks.

Despite these historic parks and beautiful areas, this is an area of the city many tourists, even Chicagoans, haven’t experienced.

"This is been great to run through a neighborhood that I've never really run through and experience a different part of Chicago," said Julie Pease.

"The foundation of these events is securing the roadway and we have an excellent blueprint from the Shamrock, from the marathon. We were on the West Side with the marathon and confident that the race will be secure and safe," said Pinkowski.

The theme is to 'reimagine the run' – and maybe give the West Side a fresh look.