The Marathon That Could Have Been

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    This could have been a race for America.

    Imagine: an exhausted marathoner sprints toward the finish line with every ounce of his energy.

    He tears through a piece of ribbon at the finish line emblazoned with the slogan: Official Host City of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Alas, any dreams of cross promotion with the Olympics and the Chicago Marathon died last week when the IOC ousted the Second City in the first round of voting.

    But what a party it would have been! A celebration of a global athletics victory with a demonstration of monumental human feats.

    The uber-branding was on the minds of race organizers.

    “We were certainly tracking it,” said Marianne Caponi, public relations director for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “It wasn’t something that was planned specifically, but if we had gotten the Games we would have pulled something together.”

    Grant Park would have been decked out in Olympic regalia. Throngs of spectators would have sported their orange Chicago 2016 t-shirts. And spectators from around the world would have tuned in to watch runners traverse a course that in just seven years would have held global implications.

    Unfortunately, Chicago lost its bid for the games in dramatic fashion, and what ever ideas the city had for partying were quickly scrapped.

    But just because there won’t be dual duty partying, doesn’t mean that the marathon is ho-hum.

    More than 45,000 marathon runners and 1.5 million spectators will turn out Sunday for a grueling test of endurance.

    And you can get full coverage of the annual event from NBCChicago.com. We'll be livestreaming the entire race beginning Sunday at 7:00 a.m.