Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand Thursday for the kick-off event for the Chicago Marathon, now in its 35th year.
The mayor said the event, along with other recent sporting events, have had a huge impact on the city.
"We had the Ryder Cup last week. We have the Chicago Marathon, the [Notre Dame versus Miami] football game ... this is going to be back-to-back sport weekends in the city with huge economic impact [and] job creation for the city of Chicago," he said.
An exclusive group of runners who have taken part of every Chicago Marathon were honored.
"To get the notoriety that you get from being part of this group is something that I never would have expected," said Dan Skrzypczynkski.
He said he's proud to have seen the race grow from just about 4,000 runners back then to the 45,000 runners this year.
"In the first one, the amount of horn-honking on the street because people were just angry that somebody was disturbing traffic, and now the acceptance and blocked off [streets] and the organization that this is a regular thing to be expected."
The big race is Sunday.