Chicago Marathon guide

Gear up for the Chicago Marathon with course information, photos and tips on running and watching

Photograph: Max Herman
Racers gathered at the starting line before hitting the 26.2 mile course at the Chicago Marathon on October 12, 2014.

Autumn is here and it's time for the 37th Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 12. Nearly two million spectators flock to the 26.2-mile route annually, cheering on participants with handmade signs as they race toward the finish line in Grant Park.

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

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.

2014 photos

Sport and fitness

Photos from every stage of the Marathon

From Lincoln Park to Chinatown, we checked in with runners all over the course

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Sport and fitness

The funniest signs of 2014

Spectators, family and friends lined up to encourage runners with hilarious signs

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Sport and fitness

The best costumes of 2014

What's crazier than running the Chicago Marathon? Running it in costume

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Sport and fitness

2014 elite finish photos

These athletes traveled from all over the world to zip through our city

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Sport and fitness

2014 starting line photos

We took in the scene at the starting line at the beginning of this year's race

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Marathon features

Sport and fitness

Survive the marathon

What happens to a marathoner's body during the race

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Spectator 101

Can't-miss tips to watching the Chicago Marathon

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Sport and fitness

Marathon spotting

Pick out your friend among the 40,000 runners

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Energy gel taste test

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

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Restaurants

Where to carbo-load before the race

Load up on pizza, spaghetti and more Italian delicacies

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Chicago Marathon restaurant specials

From pasta specials to places to celebrate after the race, here's where to eat

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Fast-forwarding through the marathon route

26.2 miles in under 9 minutes

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Shopping

Chicago's 10 best running shops

Suit up at these great stores

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2013 photos

2013: Best spectator signs

The funniest signs along the marathon's route

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2013: Chinatown photos

Dragon dancers greeted runners

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2013: Starting line photos

On your mark, get set, go!

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2013: Boystown photos

The first third of the race rolls through the North Side

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2013: Great costume photos

Some runners wore more than just spandex and T-shirts

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2013: Pilsen photos

A Mariachi band was waiting to cheer on runners

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2013: Elite finish photos

A new course record was set during the 2013 Chicago Marathon

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2012 photos

2012: Starting line photos

See the start of the 2012 marathon

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2012: Elite finishers photos

The top dogs breaking the tape

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2012: Finish line photos

Exhaustion and triumph at the end

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2012: Spectator sign photos

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

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2012: Costume photos

Mario, a pirate, Disney characters...

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2012: Chinatown photos

Under the Chinatown Gate

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2012: Pilsen photos

Spectators (and a DJ) on 18th

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2012: Old Town photos

Elvis greets the masses

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2012: Lincoln Park photos

Trudging through the North Side

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2012: Boystown photos

Passing through Lakeview

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2012: Health and Fitness Expo photos

Runners check out all the gear

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