The Flourishing Experiment

Carey Pinkowski, Race Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, shares with us how the race has grown over the 26 years he has been race director and discusses the course. This year 45,000 runners from over 130 countries, including all 50 U.S. states, will help celebrate the marathon's 38th anniversary. The field is comprised of 55% male runners and 45% female runners. Since 2002, $135 million has been raised for charities, including $17.7 million from last year.

Pulling off a marathon that goes through 29 neighborhoods of Chicago requires a near-Herculean effort, utilizing more than 12,000 volunteers, a stellar corp of medical professionals led by Dr. George Chiampas at 22 aide stations, coordination with local police, the Chicago Transit Authority, Mayor Rahm Emmanual’s office, the park district, sponsors such as Bank of America, Abbott Labs and Nike, and of course the residents of Chicago. The city of Chicago and its residents open their arms wide to support and welcome the runners to their city.

Carey discusses the course which starts at Grant Park, goes through the loop, also known as the central business district (be on the lookout and for the smell of Garret’s popcorn, a Chicago tradition), and then heads up through River North, an up-and-coming area with many restaurants.

Up next is the Lincoln Park Zoo area which is a great area for spectators, then on to Lake View. The course then takes you back through Lincoln Park with DePaul being at the heart of Lincoln Park. Next you head back to River North, through the Merchandise Mart, cross the river and start down to Adams which is a big spectator area nearing the halfway point. Runners cross the Chicago River five times during the marathon.

The latter part of the marathon takes runners past the United Center (where the Blackhawks and Bulls play), Malcom X College, Greek Town (that’s where our friend Dean Karnazes likes to hang out), Little Italy, Pilsen (Chicago’s largest Hispanic neighborhood), Chinatown at the 20 mile point, then on to the area where the Chicago White Sox (also known as “Carey’s team”) play, the UIC Campus (where A LOT of students cheer on the runners), back up Michigan Avenue and the south loop area.

The course ends with a hill up Roosevelt Road (the only hill and they save it for the end, but runners are fortunate as previously there were TWO hills at the end) to the finish line at Grant Park.

The Chicago Marathon is a great course for first time marathoners as it’s very walkable to and from the finish lines from many downtown hotels. Friends and family can easily get to 8-9 cheers zones through riding the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). Over 1.6 million fans are on the course cheering on the runners.

Carey asks that runners read the participant guide, listen to announcements and look for the flags on the course, and check out the website. He recommends that first time marathoners be conservative with their pace, trust their training, and stay within their pace. Aspects of the race are currently being finalized but it sounds like there will be even more entertainment on the course in 2015.


Our Runner of the Week, Dr. Kate Weymouth, MD, a psychiatrist, shares how she has had an "on again/off again" relationship with running, and it's currently ON! (Yay!) Kate discusses studies from the University of Texas (UT) and others proving how exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for many people or in concert with medication for others. In fact, at UT, they’re doing work with PTSD patients and exercise and seeing great results.

There are numerous studies showing that people are more focused after they run. For students, a great way to “study” on the run is to run the same course as usual and create memory maps.

If you’re looking for new ideas or ways to solve challenges, set the intention at the beginning of the run, go a different course, and at the end of the run, see if any insights have come to you. Studies such as the Eureka Factor show the power of exercise.

Kate was our Runner of the Week after donating the most in a month to Team Kari and Serena Run NYC and Chicago for Action for Healthy Kids. You too can have the chance to be Runner of the Month by clicking HERE ( and donating. Action for Healthy Kids provides school grants to expand school breakfast and lunch programs and provide fitness equipment.

Serena Marie, RD, answers a listener’s question about what Serena’s take is on fruitarianism. While Serena applauds Jayne (the listener) for changing her diet, she recommends a more balanced diet that comprises fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Key nutrients that are not being met in a fruitarianism diet include iron, calcium, vitamin D, B12, essential fatty acids and others. There are many women endurance athletes who have iron deficiency and have a challenging time with menstruating.

Serena recommends consuming Omega 3s instead of Omega 6s as Omega 6s are very pro inflammatory. Good sources of Omega 3s are walnuts and macadamia nuts. If Jayne would like to have a more balanced diet, Serena suggests eating beans and nuts, since those are “allowed food” for fruitarianism. The most dense source of iron is humanely raised meat.

If you would like to create your own running lifestyle, head over to (hyperlink), and discover the 11 strategies to live a life of wellness through the gift of running.

Serena and I have completely gone “Cray Cray” and graciously accepted Gore’s invitation to run the Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon on November 22nd. This will be Serena's and my third marathon in six weeks and will also be an opportunity to run the Philadelphia Marathon again. Both of us ran in 2013 and had a rough day and are looking forward to creating better memories this year. Are you running Philly? Please let us know! A meet up is being planned!


Carey Pinkowski:
Facebook: /ChicagoMarathon
Twitter: @ChiMarathon

Kate Weymouth:

Serena Marie, RD:
Facebook: /SerenaMarieRD
Twitter: @SerenaMarieRD
Instagram: SerenaMarieRD

Direct download: carey-pinkowski-08-27-2015.mp3
Category:Sports and Recreation -- posted at: 4:00am EDT