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Spectator 101: Can't-miss tips to watching the Chicago Marathon


Clarify which side of the street you’ll be cheering from so your runner can make sure he or she will be on the same side as you.

The Red Line Spectator: Capturing most of the race at the north and south points? The Red Line is your answer to hit at least four spots on the route.

  1. Start off at the first mile marker on Grand Avenue
  2. Hop north on the Red Line to Addison and south down Broadway to catch runners at mile eight.
  3. Then head south on the Red Line to the Cermak stop in between the 21 and 22 mile markers.
  4. From here, take the Red Line north to Roosevelt and snag a spot just as runners are turning the corner from Michigan to Roosevelt to Columbus and the finish line.

The Leisurely Loop Spectator:

  1. Start at State and Wacker and catch runners as they make their way south over the bridge.
  2. The Marriott Renaissance corner is a great spot to catch runners and gives you an advantage to walk across Wacker to LaSalle so that you can catch your runner running north at mile three.
  3. Proceed over to Hubbard to catch your runner right before the halfway point at mile 12.
  4. From here, start making your way to the finish line and enjoy your last 1.5 hours (give or take) before your runner completes the race

The Good Samaritan Spectator:

  1. Embrace the West Loop as your spectator location, where spectators tend to thin out and runners start to feel the pain of miles 16–18.
  2. If you want to round out support, make your way to mile 25 where your runner will likely be dazed and confused and just want the race to be over.
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