Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900 Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
The Bank of America's Chicago Marathon (formerly the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon) is a major marathon held yearly in Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Alongside the Boston, New York, London and Berlin Marathons, it is one of the five World Marathon Majors. The October 7, 2007, running was the 30th Anniversary running of the race. It has been run every year since the September 25, 1977, running of the first race under the original name the Mayor Daley Marathon drew a field of 4200 runners. It is among the fastest growing marathon road races in the world, due in part to its largely fast and flat course which facilitates the pursuit of personal records and world record performances. The race has achieved its elite status among marathons by developing relationship with sponsors who provide prize money to lure elite runners who have produced American and world record performances. There is no qualifying time to participate in the Chicago Marathon, but only runners who finish within 6½ hours are officially timed. The race is limited to 45,000 runners on a first-come, first-served basis. Although the race has limited registration, exceptions include elite runners and charity representatives. Increasingly, local, national and global charities and humanitarian organizations encourage sponsored participation in the event as a means of fund raising. The 2008 marathon will feature a new sponsor name in Bank of America, (as Bank of America acquired LaSalle Bank in 2007). The 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 12, 2008. 2008 registration opened to the general public on Feb. 1st.
Carl Sandburg's most famous description of the city is as "Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/ Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/ Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders."