A Runners' Guide for a Chicago Marathon Weekend
Run Through One of America's Greatest Cities
Runners and fans planning to take part in the Chicago Marathon are heading to one of the country's premier road races. Unlike the Boston that you must qualify for, the Chicago Marathon is open to the first 45,000 registrants. Elite runners, charity representatives, and challenge-seekers alike participate in Chicago's annual marathon known for its mostly flat course and world record performances. World Records have been broken here in 1984, 1999, 2001, and 2002, so don't miss your chance to be a part of history!
Known as one of the five World Marathon Majors, this race is held every year on Columbus Day weekend in early October. Since its establishment more than thirty years ago, the marathon has attracted runners from all over the world, including England, Kenya, Portugal, Norway, Canada, Ethiopia, Spain, Japan, and others.
The Course and the Runners
The race course begins and ends at Grant Park in downtown Chicago and winds through 29 neighborhoods in the city. The race requires a maximum finish time of less than 6 hours, 30 minutes, and runners have to be at least 16 years old. More than two thirds of runners finish the race. After general registration closes, you may still be able to participate as part of a charity or group program.
After Race Party
After the race, join the 27th Mile Party, open to the public and located in Butler Field in Grant Park. Hear live music, buy food and drinks, and marathon participants (with over-21 photo ID) get a free beer! The party goes from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.
Best Spots for Spectators
Cheer the runners on at various points on the course, including the three turning points, Wrigley Field, The United Center, and the US Cellular Field.
Vacation Rentals for Home-like Accommodation
Because the Chicago Marathon is such a well-known and highly attended event, plan where you'll stay and book it early. Bring a group of running friends or your whole family to cheer you on, and find affordable lodging in Chicago for the marathon with a vacation rental. Vacation rentals offer comfortable, spacious rooms for groups. In addition, vacation rentals provide maximum comfort for runners both before and after the race, and have kitchens, laundry machines, and other conveniences that other options do not offer. Now that you've got your travel plan, get back to training!
Some other destination marathons you might enjoy racing in: the Arizona Marathon, the New York Marathon, or the beautiful Honolulu Marathon. For an active getaway without so much training, see our adventure travel ideas.