2008 Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon Fills Field of 16,500, Largest Field Ever

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The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon has reached its limit of 16,500 spots for this Sunday's race and registration has closed. It will be the largest field ever for the race, now in it's twelfth year, and its first year with new race owners U.S. Road Sports & Entertainment Group.

The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon has reached its limit of 16,500 spots for this Sunday's race and registration has closed.

"Two weeks ago, we reached the 15,000 mark and decided to expand our field to include an additional 1,500 runners," said Jeff Graves, race director of the Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon & 5K. "We're excited to see the response to this year's race and proud to host a record 16,500 runners from 48 states and 28 countries. This Sunday, we'll share the best of Chicago with participants and spectators with a safe, memorable, and fun event."

The Sunday, Sept. 14 race will sport a record field includes racers ranging in age from 16 years-old to 77 year-old. Female racers make up more than half of all registrants at 63 percent; male racers make up 37 percent of the field. As a combined group, the racers represent 48 states, with Illinois runners representing nearly three-quarters of the field and 28 countries with Canada providing the most international runners. More than 45,000 spectators are expected to come out to cheer the racers along the 13.1 mile course.

In it's twelfth year, the Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon has added several new features to this year's race: a new start and finish at historic Jackson Park, site of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition; new entertainment along the Lake Shore Drive portion of the race course; an increase to 11 hydration stations along the course, including the start and finish areas; and, a new racer's finish medal which will be debuted at Sunday's race. The race organizers also added a 5K this year for those who want to be part of this inspiring race, but at the shorter distance. In addition, the Nissan Quality of Life Expo will be held in its new location at Navy Pier, the Friday and Saturday before the event, to better accommodate the expected attendees and provide a more exciting venue. The expo is free and open to the public.

"We're lucky to be supported in our event with so many Chicagoland volunteers and supported by so many sponsors. Every one of them has helped us make today's news a reality," added Graves. "And with only a few days till Sunday's race, it is the energy, enthusiasm and support from Banco Popular and other sponsors that will make this one of the best half marathons in the country."

In addition to Banco Popular, additional sponsors include (alphabetical order): Emerald Nuts, Gatorade Endurance Formula, LOVE FM 100.3 Radio, Nissan, Ryder, Salonpas, and Tylenol.

The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon is one of the ten largest half marathons in the country according the Running USA and was recognized previously in Runner's World as a top ten half marathon in the country.
This will be the first year of the race under its new ownership US Road Sports & Entertainment Group.

2008 Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon & 5K
In its 12th running on Sunday, Sept. 14, the 2008 Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon & 5K starts at historic Jackson Park and carries runners 13.1 miles through beautiful Chicago, past the prestigious University of Chicago campus, along tree-lined streets, beside Lake Michigan on the famous Lake Shore Drive before returning to historic Jackson Park - which was once the site of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. For the first time, the race start and finish will be at expansive Jackson Park to accommodate the 16,500 runners who will participate in this year's event. The Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon's past honors include a "top 10 half marathon ranking" by Runner's World magazine.

Race weekend activities include the Nissan Quality of Life Expo on Navy Pier and a new 5K which is limited to 2,000 racers and will be run on the morning of the half marathon. More information, including registration for the 5K and spectator information, can be found online at http://www.ChicagoHalfMarathon.com.

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