It’s official: Bank of America is the official sponsor of what had been the LaSalle Bank racing series. I just received an email notifying me of the upcoming registration dates for the 2008 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (March 30; registration opens January 1) and the 2008 Bank of American Chicago Marathon (October 12; registration opens February 1). The race websites haven’t been updated yet, though — they still show LaSalle Banks as the sponsor, and the 2007 information. I hope they maintain LaSalle’s commitment to Chicago racing, but my fear is that in a few years, after the merger is old news, B of A will let the sponsorship go, following the pattern of out-of-town companies drastically reducing their community involvement after they take over local companies. I hope I’m wrong — it’s a big commitment to sponsor these races, and big sponsors are hard to come by.
I’ll register for the Shuffle right away — I’ve only missed a couple since my first one in 1998 (at least, I think it was 1998 — it could have been as early as 1995). No marathon for me in 2008, though. All signs point to another busy year at the office, and I won’t be able to put in the training time. Instead, I’ll concentrate on half marathons for distance, and getting my 5K time down to below 20 minutes. My fastest time is 20:36, so the 5K goal is in the realm of the possible, although I don’t think it will be easy, and I’m going to have to make much more of an effort with my speedwork than I made this past year. In 2007, my 5K time came down precisely 0.0 seconds. It was a busy year at work, with a lot more travel than 2006, and sometimes just staying level is a victory.