Race sparks a lifelong connection

Kim Harris, a senior vice president and nearly 30-year employee at Bank of America, had always wanted to run a marathon, even including it on her bucket list. What she never expected was the long-lasting impact the Bank of America Chicago Marathon would have on her life, both as a runner and volunteer.

In 2009, Harris set out to discover who she was as an individual and what she was capable of accomplishing, all while advocating for the company she loved. Never having run or completed a race in the past, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon seemed like the perfect marriage of taking on a tough personal challenge and showing support for her long-time employer.

While training, Harris found a sense of peace in running. “I would walk out the door and start my run feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. Then, as I began to run and pick up my pace, I felt like I was free of it all. I used my training as a way to release my struggles and rediscover myself,” said Harris.

The Chicago Marathon brings joy to Chicago, and I am proud to work for a company that supports this great race and all that it means to the city, charities and runners.

Kim Harris
Senior Vice President in Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs

After training for months, Harris headed out early on race day and was struck by the mingling of excited runners and spectators on the train into downtown Chicago. It was the first of many signs, she said, illustrating how the annual race brings people together.

Arriving at the start of the course, Harris took off following the sound of the gun, launching down the spectator-lined streets. In each neighborhood she ran through, onlookers cheered, strengthening her resolve to complete all 26.2 miles. This was the most inspiring part of the race for Harris, and while she was feeling immense strain on her knees and was close to stopping near mile 22, she was able to persevere thanks to encouraging words of support from the community around her.

Successfully running the entire marathon was a life-changing experience for Harris. “Tears filled my eyes as I crossed the finish line and I knew I had done something so powerful for myself,” said Harris. At that moment, Harris knew she would be part of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon community for years to come.

Since participating as a runner, Harris has played an integral part in the annual event — not as a runner but as a volunteer. This year marks her sixth time volunteering, and she’ll find herself in a role she holds dear to her heart, distributing medals to runners.

Speaking from experience, Harris said, “The Chicago Marathon brings joy to Chicago, and I am proud to work for a company that supports this great race and all that it means to the city, charities and runners.” She added, “I love placing medals around the necks of those runners who, like me, fought so hard to stay in the race and accomplish their goal — to get to that finish line. It’s an emotional journey, and to experience it now through the eyes of others truly is remarkable.”

10/4/2017

 

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