Chicago Marathon Race Reports and Info

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • If traveling there, no need to rent a car since public transportation is great and it’s fairly easy to find a hotel near the start/finish, or along public transportation lines
  • Sharp turns in the early miles, so be prepared, especially with lots of runners around you.
  • Wave starts with corrals, and in waves, so it helps spread out the field (35,000+ runners)
  • Feels chillier downtown near the start because of tall buildings
  • Weather can be all over the place, so be prepared for hot or cold, or rainy, windy…
  • Not many hills, but several bridges with steel grates, which are usually covered with carpet. Still makes for different footing from regular roads.
  • GPS might not work well in early miles among tall downtown buildings
  • Book a hotel close to the start/finish to allow for minimal travel time before and after the race
  • The race feels crowded at the beginning and throughout, even with the wave starts
  • If it’s calling for warm temps, be prepared for it to warm up quickly and use ice and water at aid stations to cool down
  • Have a good plan for finding family/friends at the end, as the finish line is very busy and can be confusing and overwhelming to a tired runner


Type: Loop course all over the city, starting and finishing in Grant Park.

Start/Finish Info: Only runners allowed in start/finish area. Corrals closed 10 minutes before start, so get there with plenty of time.

Hills: Minimal, very flat, fast course. Biggest hill is ~25 feet of gain from mile 22-23. The total elevation gain is 243 ft.

Map/Elevation: Link to Map

Aid stations

Locations of water stations: 20 aid stations 1-2 miles apart, with both water and Lemon-LIme Gatorade Endurance Formula

Locations of electrolyte stations: Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews at mile 13.2 and Gatorade Endurance Energy Gels at mile 18.2. Bananas at miles 29.5-23.5.

Spectator access

Access Locations: See the Spectator Guide

Boston qualifier?

Yes, and part of the World Marathon Majors

Race reports

Chicago Marathon Race Report – John Gregson

Race: Chicago Marathon Runner: John Gregson Race Date: 10/09/2022 Location: Chicago, IL Results: 4:01:17 Strava Activity Link: 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? The course was nice and flat, and the weather was perfect for runningThe aid stations were plentiful and well organizedThe crowd was amazing Not so much – Aspects of ...

Chicago Marathon Race Report – Drew Mikhail

Race: Chicago Marathon Runner: Coach Drew Mikhail Race Date: 10/09/2022 Location: Chicago, Illinois Results: 4hrs14 Strava Activity Link: 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? The crowds were tremendous. Hardly any quiet spotsThe expo was massive with tons of vendors and merchA very fast course Not so much – Aspects of the race ...

Deer Park St. Paddy’s Half Marathon Race Report – Vince Kwok

Race: Deer Park St. Paddy's Half Marathon Runner: Vince Kwok Race Date: 03/19/2022 Location: Deer Park, IL Results: 1:47:47.8 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? Parking was easy. Plenty of spots as it was in a mall area by the movie theater. I personally like smaller races so this fit me well. Only ...

Chicago Marathon Race Report – Rohit Eipe

In this race report, runner Rohit reviews the Chicago Marathon, including what to know about your start time and planning for aid stations. Race: Chicago Marathon 2021 Runner: Rohit Eipe Race Date: 10/10/2021 Location: Chicago, IL Results: Strava Activity Link: 3 Bests – Review the aspects of the Chicago Marathon that you liked the most It's pretty well ...
chicago marathon review

Chicago Marathon Race Report – Ayu

Race: Chicago Marathon Runner: Ayu Date: 10/8/17 Location: Chicago, IL Results - 6:28:14 3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most: The EXPO was very organized and easy to find. The crowds were spectacular, people cheering at the different neighborhoods with different bands playing was fantastic! The race had great resources in terms of water, ...

Chicago Marathon – Adela S

Race: Chicago Marathon – Runner: Adela S Date: 10/9/2016 Location: Chicago, Il Results – 4:39, somewhere around 11,000th place out of 40,000 registered 3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most 1) Highly organized, including security 2) Post-race food & beer – we were even given ice bags. That’s a first for me! 3) Volunteers and fans were ...

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