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Local News

Brookfield woman: Longtime volunteer at Chicago Marathon

BROOKFIELD – About 15 years ago, Blanca Becerra Fraga was leaving church in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago when she first encountered the energy of the Chicago Marathon.

“To my surprise, there were hundreds of runners coming down the streets,” she said.

“I had never been a part of it. I just had chills and couldn’t believe that people were doing this and cheering perfect strangers.”

The past three years, Fraga of Brookfield has been one of nearly 400 Bank of America employees to volunteer at the marathon, which the bank sponsors. This year, she will arrive at 4 a.m. Oct. 13 at the marathon’s VIP tent to register runners and coordinate their breakfast, equipment drop-off, medical assistance and other services.

By 3 p.m., she’ll get to head home.

“We’re there a long time, but it’s worth it,” said Fraga, an administrative assistant in global corporate and investment banking.

For all her work, Fraga will also get to watch some of the race.

Last year, she watched the leading runners cross the finish line.

“It’s just inspiring to see them do that,” she said. “It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

The bank also has several employees at the finish line to place medals around the necks of the race winners.

They get to hear stories from the competitive runners about their background and how they got started.

“It’s just great to be a part of it,” Fraga said.

Fraga is not a runner but volunteering at the marathon has had an effect on her. 

“It did inspire me this past year to join a local gym and lose some weight,” she said.

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