2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

October 13, 2019
Downtown Chicago

It's big. Really 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

Whether you're ready to race or just joining the cheering committee, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take to the streets of downtown, the lakefront, and several neighborhoods on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Celebrating its 41st year, this iconic running event is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, and is one of the six World Marathon Majors. Watch great marathon champions with the stunning Chicago skyline in full view.


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.

Follow these 6 spectator tips 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 to keep tabs on your runner throughout the race. Electronically track multiple runners on the course 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 run 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 train stations throughout downtown and the 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 the point where 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 crowds. Mix it up with 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, concentrated on the South Side. Take 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.

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