I'm guessing there was a time when big marathons weren't quite so corporate....
From the 2008 Chicago Marathon confirmation brochure:
Help Nike Inspire Your Favorite Runner
Join forces with Nike as they support the marathoners along the course. Nike will feature a cheer station at the 25k (mile 15.5) mark near Ashland & Jackson, as well as a motivational zone near mile 22.5 at 33rd & Wentworth. Both stations will offer cheer supplies and entertainment to help spectators motivate and encourage their favorite runners. The 33rd Street motivational zone will also feature a live video feed of runners, music, an emcee and cheer groups who will work to give runners an extra boost as they enter the final stretch of their marathon.
Bank of America Cheer Zones
Bank of America is with you every step of the way from start line to finish line. To demonstrate support of your mission, Bank of America will host four Cheer Zones in four different neighborhoods to provide encouragement throughout the race and when you
need it most. Look for the Bank of America Cheer Zones....
The Energizer® Keep Going Superstar Contest
®The Energizer® Keep Going ®Superstar contest celebrates your greatest Marathon supporter: someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during your training, on race day and after you've crossed the finish line. When you are struggling to make the next mile and you've almost hit a wall, who do you think of first? Who gives you the inspiration you need to put one foot in front of the other? That person is your Energizer® Keep Going ®Superstar. ®On Monday, October 13,Energizer will begin accepting nominations for the Energizer® Keep Going ®Superstar Contest. Visit chicagomarathon.com after the race for more details on how to submit your nomination. Prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions, and winners will receive a special gift basket from Energizer. Join Energizer on race day at one of the five Energizer® Keep Going ®Zones to help cheer on the pace setters and the go getters. Energizer will provide the Energizer Bunny® ears for never-quit inspiration and you provide the encouraging words.
Some difficult decisions ahead for Mrs. Longest Run and her friend E. (Chris' wife) - whether to hang out at an Energizer® Keep Going ®Zone or at a Bank of America Cheer Zone. To wear Energizer Bunny® ears or to use the Nike cheer supplies....