U.S. Women Soccer forwards Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach talk Bank of America’s “Let’s Run Together” charity relay.


With the countdown to the 34th annual Chicago Marathon dwindling quickly down to the single digits, the city is in a last minute stage of hamstring stretches and toe touches. Energies are high and excitement is growing even higher, especially for U.S. Women Soccer forwards Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, who will be running, with goalie Hope Solo, two miles as part of Bank of America’s “Let’s Run Together” charity relay. The players, who made headlines this summer during the Women’s World Cup, share why they wanted to be part of the charity relay and what they look forward to doing in Chicago. Here’s a hint: deep dish, anyone?

TOC: The marathon is tomorrow, are you getting nervous?
Alex Morgan: I’m not nervous because I’m not running the whole thing and it’s amazing being surrounded by 45,000 marathon runners. I’ve never been in this type of involvement before, so I’m really excited. 

Abby Wambach: No, you know I’m getting really excited. This is a great opportunity for Alex, Hope and myself to participate in something bigger than us.

Why did you want to join the “Let’s Run Together” charity relay?
Alex Morgan:  Well, first of all, we are able to donate $5,000 to the charity of our choice and it’s always great to be part of a team and know you’re giving your best.

Abby Wambach:  It was a no brainer and a great way to give back to the community and be part of the Chicago Marathon.  I mean, who would have thought that we’d be playing in Germany competing in the Women’s World Cup, and two months later we’d be running in a marathon? 

Which charity have you chosen to donate to?
Alex Morgan:  I chose the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which I’m really passionate about.  I’m an animal lover and had cats and dogs growing up. 

Abby Wambach:  I chose the Juvenile Diabetes Association. My nephew has type 1 diabetes and it’s my goal and hope that in his lifetime there will be a cure for diabetes.  There’s no place better to give the money to than the Juvenile Diabetes Association. 

How did you train for the marathon?
Alex Morgan:  I think we ran about 5 to 7 miles here and there, but this was more for fun and teamwork.

Abby Wambach:  If we were running the 26.2 miles, the training would be much different, but really, this is about giving back to the things we desperately believe in and doing this for the team and the community.

How do you think the popularity of women’s soccer has come up in the past couple years?
Alex Morgan:  The competition has improved so much internationally.  There’s some countries that you didn’t expect to do well, such as Japan, which is one country that wasn’t expected to make it as far as they did, so that was an amazing accomplishment for them.  I think that every year women’s soccer keeps going around the world and people are giving it more attention and putting more financial support into women’s programs.

Abby Wambach:  Since the World Cup in Germany things have been very different.  I think we have made a lot of people proud back home and for me that means good things for the sport.  We want to be symbols of what it means to be on a team and what it means to be good teammates.

Do you have any advice for girls who want to pursue a serious career in soccer, or any sport for that matter?
Alex Morgan:  It’s important to set goals and have priorities.  Growing up, balancing my time was important.  I made sure I had my homework done, practiced and made time for friends.  You need to get that routine down and in terms of soccer, if you want to be the best you have to practice and be willing to do more work than everyone else. You need to put in the hard work and time. 

Abby Wambach:  It takes dedication.  The truth is, I’ve been on a team my whole life.  I’m the youngest of 7 so I’ve been training to be an athlete my whole life.  You never know you’re going to be a professional athlete when you’re ten or fifteen, you have a dream and hopefully that’s what we’re doing is inspiring a younger generation to dream big and do things maybe more than they possibly thought they could for their future. 

If you have time, what are you looking forward to doing or seeing in Chicago?
Alex Morgan:  I’m looking forward to walking around and seeing more of the city.  But we’re really here for the marathon. We’ve got a big day tomorrow, an early big day.

Abby Wambach:  Eating a deep dish pie is what I want to do. 


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)