CHICAGO (CBS) — Only about two days to go until the gun is fired to kick off the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. At this point, many runners are resting their feet but not their fundraising efforts.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares some reasons for racing.  

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Trudging toward race day, Antoinette Perea is processing the pain and pride to come.

“I am super excited. Nervous. Anxious. Feeling all the feelings,” said Perea.

The first-time marathoner has two goals: to complete 26.2 miles and to collect cash for Lurie Children’s Hospital where both her daughter and son have been patients.

“I’m just so grateful for the treatment and the special care they’ve received and I wanted to find a way to give back,” said Perea who has kept family and friends updated on her months-long training efforts through a specially-created Facebook group. It’s also served as an avenue to solicit donations. She’s very close to her $1,750 goal.

Chicago Native Lisa Card planned to be a marathon spectator this year.

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“I was looking at the website and I clicked on charity runners,” said Card. That’s when she spotted the American Brain Tumor Association and immediately thought of the dear friend she met decades ago at new mom’s group.

“Her race is a heck of a lot harder than this,” said Card of her baby buddy who is battling a brain tumor right now. Card feels hopeful and helpful raising money for a cure. Donations also help support families with a brain tumor diagnosis.

Her son Louie Card has been helping her train.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the example that mom is showing the world,” he said.

How’s this for a perspective on impact: the charity component of the Chicago Marathon in 2002 consisted of about 1,700 people running for 14 causes. This year, nearly 9,000 marathoners are fundraising for more than 170 organizations.

2019’s race garnered $27 million for charity. Almost $11 million crossed the finish line (virtually) last year.

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In total, marathon fundraisers have brought in almost $250 million for charities since 2002 and that’s not counting 2021. Fundraising is still live so this year’s numbers aren’t out yet.

Lauren Victory