Chicago Marathon: Bank of America Chicago Marathon guide

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon guide, including information, photos and tips on running and watching.

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  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

  • Photograph: Mark Wright

    A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.

Photograph: Mark Wright

A spirited crowd cheers on runners in Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013.


In the run-up to this year's 36th Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 13, the biggest story has little to do with the actual running of the race. As expected, the spotlight has been stolen by the stepped-up security in response to April's Boston Marathon bombing. "Boston has always been in the top of our minds" while planning this year's race, Chicago Marathon spokesperson Cindy Hamilton says. She adds adds that organizers have been working closely with Chicago Police and other city departments to ensure a safe race.

Nearly two million spectators flock to the 26.2-mile route annually, and this year race officials are discouraging marathon watchers at the starting point from carrying bags into Grant Park's Butler Field. The park will have four security points along Congress Parkway, Harrison Street near Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard that will screen all bags. The more than 40,000 runners entering Grant Park are allowed to carry in only a clear plastic bag that they will be issued, according to a marathon press release. The runners will also not be allowed to pick up participant packets on someone else's behalf; each person will be asked for identification.

Bus riders along the marathon course, of course, should stay tuned to the CTA's website for reroute schedules.

The schedule for events in Grant Park is as follows:

Marathon wheelchair start 7:20am
Marathon handcycle start 7:21am
Wave 1 start 7:30am
Wave 2 start 8am
Post-race party 9am-3:30pm

Every neighborhood along the route has its own quirky festivities, from Elvis impersonators to sidewalk DJs. Check out our guide to spectating, buying gear for and running the Chicago Marathon, as well as plenty of photos from last year's race.

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Best spectator signs 2013

The funniest signs along the marathon's route.

Chinatown photos 2013

Dragon dancers greeted runners in the final stretch of the marathon.

Starting line photos 2013

On your mark, get set, go!

Boystown photos 2013

Cheerleaders in drag helped push runners through the first third of the marathon.

Spectator 101

Can't-miss tips to watching the Chicago Marathon

Energy gel taste test

We tried GU, Power Gel and other weird-tasting energy gels so you don't have to.

Fast-forwarding through the marathon route

26.2 miles in under 9 minutes

The anti-marathon

26.2 miles of self-indulgence along the Marathon route.

Starting line: photos

See the start of the 2012 marathon

Costumes 2012: photos

Mario, a pirate, Disney characters...

Marathon spotting

Pick out your friend among the 40,000 runners

Elite finishers 2012: photos

The top dogs breaking the tape

Old Town 2012: photos

Elvis greets the masses.

Pilsen 2012: photos

Spectators (and a DJ) on 18th

Health + Fitness Expo 2012: photos

Runners check out all the gear.

Great costume photos 2013

Some runners wore more than just spandex and T-shirts.

Pilsen photos 2013

A Mariachi band was waiting to cheer on runners in Pilsen.

Elite finish photos 2013

A new course record was set during the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

Chicago Marathon food specials

Where to carbo load before, and recharge after

Survive the marathon

What happens to a marathoner's body during the race.

Chicago's 10 best running shops

Suit up at these great stores.

Top 10 Chicago running clubs

In no particular order.

Keeping up with a marathoner

A sprint-erview with Wesley Korir

Back on My Feet

Program has volunteers jog with transitional housing residents

Finish line 2012: photos

Exhaustion and triumph at the end

Spectators with signs: photos

"Don't Poop Your Pants" and more 2012 slogans

2012 Chicago Marathon Video

Scenes from last year's race.

Boystown 2012: photos

Passing through Lakeview

Lincoln Park 2012: photos

Trudging through the North Side

Chinatown 2012: photos

Under the Chinatown Gate


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