Best of luck to all runners competing in the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, this Sunday, Oct. 11! Chicago will be cheering you on all 26.2 miles of the race course. For spectators who'll be in town for the race, here are a few tips for getting the very best out of one of the premier athletic events in the country.
Though general spectators don't have access to the race start and finish areas in Grant Park, there are still tons of great vantage points to cheer on the marathon runners. If you want to get as close to the start of the race as possible, try Grand Avenue between Columbus Drive and State Street. The Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road is best for viewing runners headed down the home stretch.
Aside from these well-advertised spots, though, plenty of neighborhoods offer high entertainment value along the race route. Boystown, ever the party-starter, features music, dancing and the occasional drag queen. You and the elite runners will get a big wake-up call here in the early morning. Crowds along Sedgwick Avenue around mile 10 offer a great atmosphere as the racers find their rhythm.
Thousands of the marathon participants are running on behalf of local, national and global charity causes. In celebration of the fundraising efforts by the runners, the Charity Block Party, a Chicago Marathon staple, takes over Adams Street and Loomis Street, where spectators can cheer on charity runners while Djs provide music. Pilsen, around mile 19 is another festive zone, featuring traditional Mexican music and plenty of delicious food for spectators. Chinatown (above), which sits at miles 21-22, makes for a vibrant backdrop for the race right before the final turn north up Michigan Ave.
For more spectating information, view the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon Spectator Guide. If you're using public transportation and want to stay near CTA 'L' stops, these are the recommended places to watch the race. You can also receive split times right to your mobile phone using Runner Tracking and live race day results - more information here.
Also check out the marathon's many course entertainment options to keep you ... ahem, entertained ... during the course of the race.
Once again, best of luck to all runners tackling the race. We got your backs!