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Chicago Marathon 2018: Run the 4th Largest Marathon in the World

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The Chicago Marathon 2018 calls out to all Marathon runners for whom hill racing is a misery. The ultimate flat race around the beautiful city of Chicago is an essential foremost on the list of World Major Marathons and is enchanted by the roars of the crowd that is off the list of any other marathon. The legendary marathon race houses a maximum of 45,000 runners each year who run with a smile on their face and enthusiasm in their hearts.

The Chicago Half Marathon and Chicago Marathon race are held every year in the city of Chicago, Illinois, United States. This race is renowned with the title of ‘IAAF Gold Label Race’ and is the fourth largest race by the number of finishers worldwide.

General Information about The Chicago Marathon 2018

The Chicago Marathon 2018 marks the 41st year of this celebrated Marathon and will be held on October 7th, 2018. It is amongst the fastest growing flat and fast course road races in the world. This marathon has seen a quest of various personal records for runners as also some world record performances.

The Chicago Half Marathon has achieved an elite status over the years and maintains an emergent relationship with the sponsors of the race, which promise the winners with some hefty prize money and fame.

Bank of America has been serving as the main sponsor of this race since 2008 and since then the Marathon has been officially coined as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Race.

Chicago Marathon logo

Did you know that a runner participating in the marathon is guaranteed to view all the magnificent things around Chicago city?

This splendid race on a 26.2 miles course around 29 diverse locations of the city tour crossing the Chicago lakes and extensive bridges needs to be completed by the runners in 6 hours and 30 minutes.

So typically who are the participants of this race?

These are primarily athletes from all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. A general lottery is conducted for selecting the participants apart from those who meet a time qualifying standard. A special exception is maintained for elite runners and charity representatives.

With increasing popularity of The Chicago Marathon, a host of national and global Human and Charity organizations have got inspired to sponsor and market this marathon for a good cause.

History of the Chicago Marathon

This marathon is quite old, perhaps dating back to a time before we were even born. Back in September 23, 1905, the Chicago Marathon was first organized by the Illinois Athletic club and was then sponsored by the Chicago Daily News until the late 1920’s.

chicago marathon history
1913 - Chicago Marathon 

The very first marathon witnessed around 1 Lakh spectators with the race beginning at Evanston and ending at Washington Park Race Track.

Started as the mother of all races in the U.S, this marathon gained traction in the eyes of the nation in the 1960’s. Continuing to gain audiences, the Chicago Half Marathon and full marathon race eventually came out as a rival to the New York Marathon which already got popular in 1976.

In its dwelling years, the marathon saw its inception from a mindblowing 4200 runners and 2128 finishers, which made it the nation’s largest marathons. By 1983, The Chicago Marathon had gained the first-class status as one of America’s most important Marathons. By 1986, this race saw around 8000 participants with 40 world class runners breaking their own world records. A natural outcome was big brands getting associated as sponsors.

With Bank of America’s association with Chicago Marathon in 2007, this run has been creating history with some world breaking records and addition of stunning locations around the Chicago city.

Registration Details

chocago marathon run
Chicago Marathon - creating history! (source)

The registration application window for Chicago Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon officially stands closed at 2 pm (U.S Central Time) on Thursday, November 30th, 2017.

A limited number of entries are still available through International tour programmes and Charity Events registrations. For participants already registered through the non-guaranteed entry, an email notification confirming the status have been sent.

The Chicago Marathon had rolled out a new way for runners to cross the threshold of this race terms without the trouble of entering through the lottery. Candidates who meet the qualifying times specific to their gender and age automatically win a ticket to the start of the race line.

Every runner who has registered can access their participant account through the official website of Chicago Marathon here:

The fee structure of the Marathon is as follows:

  • Non-US Residents: USD $220
  • US Residents belonging to any of the 50 states: USD $195

The payment can be made through credit card only and is approved when and if the application gets selected through the draw or gets approved through any other registration method.

Please make sure to have the credit card expiry date further than December 2017 for the payment to get cleared without any hassles.

Chicago marathon Qualifying times and Details

Chicago Marathon Runners
Everyone gets an fair chance - Qualify on your merit

The Chicago Marathon authorities have set in a new time standard strategy to give participants of all ages an equal chance to qualify for the entry.

Previously, the option of guaranteed entry was restricted to men who ran 3:15 or faster and women who had a sub-3:45 race to their names, no matter what their age is.

The following values, accomplished on a USA Track & Field-certified course after January 1, 2016, will be guaranteed an entry to Chicago Marathon race in 2018:

Age Group
























These Chicago marathon qualifying times criteria have become an approach for various other marathon organizations as this eases the obstruction of the lottery rolls and open registration processes. This also ensures a varied era of ability levels that are represented on the field later.

Route Map of the Chicago Marathon

The route for Chicago Marathon is one of the priceless routes to run on, as quoted by the athletes from the previous years.

Note: The route below was followed in 2017; the route for 2018 hasn't been updated yet!

2017 Chicago marathon
Chicago marathon - 2017 route

Don’t you really wish to become a spectator or a runner to this amazing annual flat course race?

The Chicago Marathon Course Map is available for athletes to download on the official website of Chicago Marathon. The Marathon is known for its flat and fast course that ends in the Grant Park, Chicago.

Chicago Marathon Course Map for Athletes.

The precise route map for the Chicago Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon is yet to be launched in the coming months and will be available for user viewership soon.

Exhaustive Schedule of the Events

Wheelchair Marathon
Wheelchair Marathon at Chicago

The Chicago Marathon Event is surely one to look forward to. You’d believe us when you check out this schedule. So don’t wait any longer and read on.

  • Friday, October 5, 2018

Abbott Health & Fitness Expo accompanied by Packet pick-up* McCormick Place at the North Building, Hall B from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

*Participants must display their packet pick-up ticket or email along with a photo ID in order to collect their participant packet and participant bag.

  • Saturday, October 6, 2018

Advocate Health Care International Chicago for the 5K Marathon at 7:30 a.m. You can read more about the Chicago 5K marathon at

The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo and Packet pick-up continue at McCormick Place, North Building, Hall B from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

So finally here comes the Great Marathon day. Are you excited? The runners collectively gather at the Grant Park, Chicago. Here is the time wise schedule for Sunday:

5:30 a.m. – Gear check opens
5:30 a.m. – Start corrals open
7:20 a.m. – Wheelchair Start
7:21 a.m. – Hand cycle Start
7:23 a.m. – Athletes with Disabilities Start
7:30 a.m. – Wave 1 Start
8:00 a.m. – Wave 2 Start
8:35 a.m. – Wave 3 Start

Run run run and finish the race on time! Remember, a post-Marathon 27th Mile race party awaits you at the Grant Park, Butler Field from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

All about Logistics - Hotel, Travel and Parking details

Runners from all the 50 states and 100 countries travel to Chicago every fall nationally and internationally to witness The Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It is a humble idea to book your travel and stay well in advance and they make the amenities access easier through tie-ups with the official travel and housing partners. There are varied special offers and rates for runners and spectators.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Check out the amenities before you book

So now, you must be thinking, where do you place all that luggage and 'your worked up soul' before and after the Marathon?

For BOA Chicago Marathon, Experient is the official housing partner and is offering access to some most desirable Hotels in the city. The Hilton Chicago serves as the official headquarters hotel of the Chicago Marathon with around 1500 deluxe suite rooms and a walking distance from main shopping districts and Millennium Park in Chicago.

In regards to the travel, you do not need to worry as American Airlines is the official airline partner for this marathon.

With 500 flights daily, The Chicago O’ Hare international airport also supports the participants with being well connected to 120 destinations worldwide.

It will obviously be a good suggestion for you to block your parking spot in advance for stress-free convenience. For affordable parking, you can use Spot Hero, which is the nation’s leading parking reservation app. You can also consider Millennium Garages that offer the closest race day parking options for your vehicle.

In addition to these, there are 20 aid stations during the course of the race situated one to two miles apart from each other. Each aid station has important amenities like Medical tents, toilet facilities, water containers and Gatorade Endurance formula that will help the runners through the race.

Prize Money

Champion at Chicago Marathon
The feeling of being a winner

This gigantic marathon has its own way of motivating the runners with a total of $550,000 prize money involved.

The runner who backs the first place in the Chicago Marathon wins not only prize money of $100,000 USD but backs a name on the winner record list of the marathon.

The 2nd and 3rd runner-up of the race back $50,000 USD and $25,000 USD respectively.

Certain guidelines are implied on the prize money that is backed by the runners, which are officially stated by the Chicago Marathon authorities and are available on the official website.

Charity Programmes

Do you feel there is anything better than running for a cause than for money?

The BOA Chicago Marathon hosts tons of runners who run on behalf of certain charity programmes that are organized by associated organizations.

Runners for charity
Run for Charity

This would mean that with every step you take and every dollar you raise, you are helping the society become a better place by touching the lives for all those in need. In 2017, over 10,000 charity runners participated in the Chicago Marathon on behalf of more than 170 local, national and global causes.

Winners from the Previous Marathon Races

The Chicago Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon are proud to have welcomed more than a million runners since the inception of this event. The recent 2017 record was set by the Male Athlete Galen Rupe by finishing the race in 4:47:23 and woman athlete Tirunesh Dibaba. The previous year saw a record-breaking performance by Abel Kirui by finishing the marathon in a time span of just 4:34:48.


Here is a list of some of the common questions that every participant would need answers to before taking part in the Chicago Marathon:

When and where is the Chicago Marathon?
The Chicago Marathon is being held at Gran Park, Chicago on October 7th, 2018.

How can I register for the event?
You cannot register for the event. The registration process is closed.

Can the registration take place on the day of the race or is there a waiting list?
There is NO immediate registration process for the Race day or a waiting list process for The Chicago Marathon.

Can I receive a refund after registering in case I don’t wish to run?
There is no refund policy or exception in any case once a runner is registered for the event.

How Can I make a change to my registration information?
For any change of information, you can email at [email protected] with ‘Change of Information’ in the subject line or call the Bank of America Chicago Marathon office at 312.904.9800. 

So how do you really come to know everything about the race in minutes?
The best way you can prepare for this Marathon is by downloading the handy Bank of America Chicago Marathon mobile App which serves as a perfect resource giving you essential details about the race schedules, course map and everything else as well.

Training for the Marathon

Feel you are not physically fit to run this marathon?

Don’t be anxious, you can be trained well!

Check out the Ultimate Marathon Running Guide - From Start to Finish

Exclusive training programmes is also being rganized by the various running clubs to help you develop speed and endurance for tackling this dynamic Marathon race. The training plans are customized according to your fitness levels and body needs by trained coaches.

Know all about Running Workouts to Increase Speed and Endurance (Not for Beginners!)

With the emergence of more entries every year, this marathon counts its journey towards path-breaking running records all over the world. So get set with your sports gear and register yourself for the Chicago Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon 2018.

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