Chicago marathon runners
Sep 25, 2023

Meet Our 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Runners

Here at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, we know the hard work and perseverance that it takes to run a marathon — it’s the kind of drive that truly exemplifies the Y spirit. 

We’re proud to return this year as an official Charity Partner of the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8. Team YMCA consists of 18 individuals who are committed to running, fundraising for, and serving as ambassadors for the Y  — helping us reach (and exceed!) our 2023 fundraising goal of $30,900. 

Learn more about and support Team YMCA via our fundraising page: 



Y runners have dedicated the past several months training for the big event. Here are a few reasons why some of members of Team YMCA have chosen to run: 

Dr. Jerry Nwonye and his family were members of the Indian Boundary YMCA. When their family fell on hard times, the Indian Boundary Y awarded them with a Family Scholarship, enabling them to continue finding support and growth at the Y. Dr. Nwonye’s three children learned to swim at the YMCA, and he says it was his go-to place to decompress. 

“I made up my mind to join Team YMCA to raise funds for the Indian Boundary YMCA,” Dr. Nwonye said. “Doing the fundraiser is my way to give back and join in the efforts of the Y to build a safe and healthy community.”  

Michael Crino is running to support the YMCA Urban Warriors program. Urban Warriors pairs miltary veterans with youth exposed to violence in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods, fostering a unique supportive relationship with two groups of people that understand each other in ways most could never comprehend. 

“As an Army Veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2018, this initiative means a lot to me, and I want to support it anyway I can,” said Crino.  

Damon Pollock has a deep connection with the South Side YMCA. His entire family has been a part of the South Side Y community since it opened. His mom goes to classes, he plays basketball, and his children go swimming. By running in the 2023 Chicago Marathon, Pollock strives to help develop strong children, families, and communities! 

Sydney Salazar is running her second marathon to support the YMCA of Metro Chicago and YMCA Youth & Government, a mock government club for high school students focused on civics, leadership, and public service! As the daughter of a retired Y leader, Salazar has been a part of the Y community her entire life, and her participation in Y programs, specifically Youth & Government, shaped the trajectory of her life. 

“From deciding on where to go to college to making lifelong friends, I owe so much to the Y and am so excited to give back!” said Salazar.  

Team YMCA runners share in every victory, challenge, and sore muscle, all to uplift the Y’s mission of strengthening community by connecting all people to their purpose, potential, and each other. Together, we are empowering everyone across our communities, creating a more equitable Chicagoland.  

Don’t forget to join the Y staff, family, and friends along the Chicago Marathon route on October 8 as we cheer on Team YMCA! Keep an eye on the YMCA of Metro Chicago Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for more information as the event approaches.