The next event will be: October 8th, 2017.
Approximate cost is: $195-220
Registration by lottery (yes/no): Yes
Maximum allowable race time is: 6 hrs 30 min
Summary: Started in 1977 as the Mayor Daley Marathon, the modern day Chicago Marathon is one of the world’s finest. It is one of only 6 World Marathon Major events, (the others being New York, Boston, Tokyo, London, and Berlin) and is one of 41 designated IAAF Gold Label races. It is limited to 45,000 runners and most gain entry through a general lottery.
The race starts and ends at Grant Park and for the first three miles, runners wind through Chicago’s downtown area before heading North along the shore of Lake Michigan. After looping back near the starting area, the race heads West and then finally South before returning to the start/finish.
I walked to the El platform before sun-up (when many Chicagoans were just stumbling home from another wild Saturday night). Every person on the train was either wearing a bib number or holding signs in preparation to spectate. At each stop, more runners and fans piled on, and my heart swelled with joy and excitement. I love Chicago.
“Alas, we made it to the condo that we were renting which was smack dab in the middle on Michigan Ave along the Magnificent Mile. Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus were steps away.”
“Finally, after the expo, Becky and I took a free shuttle from the expo center over to the Magnificent Mile. This was super convenient. Note for future Chicago Marathon runners: there are free shuttles to certain neighborhoods, but be prepared for long lines if you want to ride mid-day.”
“packet pickup was easy – we gave our id and packet pickup ticket, they scanned us in and sent us to our station…which because we’d checked in 30 seconds earlier had our packet already out and waiting. It was spooky, we walked up to the station and they asked “Are you Heather?” …wow! Talk about down to a science.”
“The weather can be hit or miss for the Chicago Marathon. The first time I ran it, it was in the 60s at the start and the 80s (Fahrenheit) at the finish. The last few years have been good weather years for the race. This year, the weather was 50 degrees at the start with low humidity – nearly perfect conditions for a marathon”
“It is very difficult to run the tangents at the Chicago Marathon due to the crowds and many turns.”
“My favorite stretch was running through Boystown. There were drag queens performing along the route, lively and loud people cheering, and other performers on stage entertaining the runners. I did not like the people with hoses that sprayed everyone. Not every runner wants to run with soggy sneakers for 10 miles…”
“The expo was HUGE! Name it and you could find it there! I ended up spending a bit more than I wanted, but the Nike Chicago Marathon gear was so good!”
“Chicago has an AMAZING post-race party in Grant Park with live music, more beer and other fun stuff, so we hung out there for a while as it was a gorgeous day and all we wanted to do was lay on the ground.”
“My first half time was 2:01:59 so I was on pace to hit my goal of around 4:00. But then I hit a wall around mile 15 and slowed down drastically. It was very similar to the wall I experienced in the 20-miler three weeks ago. My legs felt like concrete and my ankles (especially the left one, which is swollen today) hurt. I eventually had to walk because I was barely picking up my legs.”
“My Garmin was completely all over the place for the first 5-6 miles. We ran under some tunnels, and I think that combined with all the sky scrapers just confused the hell out of that thing. So it was kind of hard to know what pace I was actually going for awhile. If you’ve ever run Chicago I’m sure you experienced this as well.”
“A word to the wise if you ever do this race – the last quarter mile of this thing is the hardest. Chicago is a flat course overall but there is a hill leading right up to the finish and god is it painful after running 26 miles!”
“The first couple miles go right through downtown. The sights and buildings are amazing. The crowds line up four and five deep on each side. They seem to be cheering just as loudly for me as they did for the world class runners that had just passed over the same course. What a great feeling!”
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