By Asal Rezaei

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Abbott 5k is underway as the 3.1 mile race prepares those running in this weekend’s Chicago Marathon.

The race started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday – runners and fans of the Chicago marathon can preview sections of that course and run past iconic downtown landmarks.

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An inspiration for women and young girls – Olympian and New York City marathon champion Shalane Flanagan had a meet and greet with at least 10 girls and their running buddies just before the race.

CBS 2’s Asal Rezaei spoke with the marathoner about the meeting and participating in the race.

“With girls on the run, they’re fueling me, you know, reach my personal best and I’m trying to run all six marathons, major marathons in 42 days and you know it’s when I got started running was when I was little, just like the young women. So yeah, it’s a life changing, sport and you can do it forever,” Flanagan said.

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The Abbott Chicago 5k is proud to support the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in its fight to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. In recognition of each runner’s participation on race day, the event will make a $2 donation to the ADA for every participant who crosses the finish line.

The race will finish on LaSalle near the Chicago Board of Trade.

For those planning on participating this weekend, proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test is required.

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Street closures are in effect downtown as the races are underway.