It's big, real big:
- 45,000 registered participants
- 1.7 million estimated spectators
- 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries represented
- 26.2 mile course through 29 Chicago neighborhoods
- $13.4 million raised for charity in 2011
Whether you're ready to race or just joining the cheering crowds, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take to the streets of downtown, the lakefront and Chicago neighborhoods on Sunday, October 11, 2015.
Celebrating its 38th anniversary in 2015, the iconic running event is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world and is one of the five World Marathon Majors. Watch great champions of the sport with the stunning skyline in full view.
MARATHON WEEKEND EVENTS
Race registration maxed out at the 45,000 participant capacity, but the event's activities span a whole weekend, many open to both runners and race supporters.
Health & Fitness Expo
- Friday, October 9 from 9:00am - 8:00pm
- Saturday, October 10 from 9:00am - 6:00pm
- McCormick Place Convention Center (2301 S. Martin Luther King Dr.)
Runners head to the Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place to browse more than 200 exhibitors showcasing everything from the newest footwear designs to nutrition developments, and watch helpful main-stage presentations about the course, fitness technologies and marathon tips from industry experts. In addition to being the Packet Pick-Up location for race participants, the expo is free and open to the public.
- Saturday, October 12 either 11:00am or 2:30pm with Odyssey Cruises
- Saturday, October 12 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm at Hilton Chicago
Marathon participants, their families and friends can load up on carbs aboard Odyssey Cruises as it glides along gorgeous Lake Michigan the day before the race. Board at Navy then set sail with an early or mid-day lunch with menu options that include caprese pasta salad, pasta primavera, Caribbean-roasted chicken and a create-your-own pasta station. Reservations: odysseycruises.com or 866-305-2469.
Or fuel up for your race at the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon Eve dinner at the Hilton Chicago. The buffet boasts a plentiful selection of pasta (Tomato Basil Marinara, Garlic-Parmesan and Bolognese) as well as a good helping of camaraderie. Tickets: chicagomarathon.com/participant-information/pasta-dinner-buffet
- Saturday, October 11 at 7:30am (Wave 1) and 8:00am (Wave 2)
- Grant Park (Monroe Street and Columbus Drive)
The fall classic itself starts and finishes in Grant Park, with a course that runs 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods. Known for its flat terrain and for being one of the fastest in the world, the Chicago Marathon course is a scenic tour of the city.
Beginning downtown at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, the start line will be packed as racers take off bright and early. It's quite the scene and an adrenalin rush in itself as they travel en masse past beautiful Millennium Park, along State Street and the iconic Chicago Theatre and then set off through the city streets beyond.
27th Mile Post-Race Party
- Sunday, October 13 from 9:00am - 3:30pm
- Grant Park (Butler Field)
After the finish line has been crossed and the silver heatsheets are draped over the runners, why not celebrate the achievement with a party? This post-race bash is free and open to the public and features live music entertainment for all starting at 10:30am. For race participants 21 and over, a free 312 Urban Wheat Ale awaits, with additional food and beverages available for purchase.
A SPECTATOR'S GUIDE
For hours, weeks and months, they have trained and sacrificed in preparation for this day. You'll be inspired by their stories and their perseverance as you cheer them on to the finish line. In the flurry of high fives, water hand-offs and costumed racers, follow these 6 tips for spectators and you'll be watching the marathon like a pro:
- Have a plan
If you have a runner in the race, use the course map to figure out where you will watch the race and communicate which side of the street you'll be on. If you're aiming to hit multiple spots along the route, map out which mile marker your runner will be at during particular times, based on their planned pace.
- Track your runner online
Visit chicagomarathon.com to keep tabs of your runner throughout the race. Electronically track multiple runners on the course by receiving real-time updates via text message or by entering participant info on the website. Updates will be received as runners cross the 10K, halfway (13.1 miles) and 30K checkpoints, as well as the finish line.
- Stand out in the crowd
To help your runner spot you among the sea of spectators, dress up in costume, bring a bright neon sign, or wave a big balloon or flag as they runs past. Be loud and be creative!
- Take public transportation
Use the CTA and hop on the ‘L' train to get to the start and finish line, as well as various mile markers near stations throughout the downtown and neighborhoods. For example, the Blue line stop at UIC-Halsted is near MILE 16 in Greektown and the Red line stop at Grand is near where the runners cross the Magnificent Mile at MILE 1.
- Hit the neighborhoods for live entertainment
With 26.2 miles spread out across the city, there's no reason to stay just within the Loop! Cheer on with the locals in the communities of Pilsen at MILE 19 and Chinatown at MILE 21, where upbeat mariachi music and colorful lion dancers entertain the crowd. Mix it up with live animals for the kiddies at Lincoln Park Zoo between MILE 5 and 6, or go for the block-party atmosphere of Boystown surrounding MILE 7.
- Make an appearance after MILE 20
After a few hours, the course takes its toll and runners need extra support for the last few miles which are concentrated on the South Side. Show up by taking the Orange line to Halsted (MILE 20.5), the Green line to 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (MILE 23) or the Red line to Sox-35th (MILE 23.25) to give them a final burst of energy before the big finish.