5 Reasons Why the Chicago Marathon Should Be on Your Bucket List
On Sunday, October 8, 40,000 runners and close to 1.7 million spectators will descend upon Chicago for the city’s 40th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon. One of the county’s, and world’s, most elite races is at the top of bucket lists for many runners, and for good reason. Here are 5 reasons why you should add the Chicago Marathon to your bucket list of races!
Ideal Running Weather
Simply put, it can’t get much better than running in fall. With average race day starting temperatures at a brisk 52 degrees, runners are poised to break personal records. The course is home to four world records and several national records. Most runners can agree race day temperatures can make or break even the best routes. (Hello August races in sweltering humidity.) An added bonus: along the route you’ll be distracted by the city’s beautiful fall foliage.
Unique and Record-Holding Course
Combined with ideal running temperatures, the largely flat and fast course facilitates many runners’ pursuit of personal records and world record performances. The course leads runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods while simultaneously offering an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. Runners will follow the course around Lake Michigan and weave through neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Lakeview, West Side, Pilsen and Chinatown. Each area boasts its own, distinct character, sights and energy, including mouth-watering smells going well beyond deep dish-pizza. The marathon starts and ends at Grant Park with a loop course incorporating much of the city over 26.2 miles.
Race Day Amenities
Sponsored by Gatorade Endurance, the exclusive on-course energy gel and drink provider, runners will have their fill of marathon essentials. On race day an estimated 75,000 bananas are handed out to runners each year along with 77,760 gallons of water. Want to chill before or after the race? It takes two days to clean the goose droppings from Grant park. The service is provided to keep runners and others involved with race happy and protected from any unpleasant experiences when relaxing on the grass, which is something you might just be doing at the all day 27th Mile Post-Race Party. The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. and carry on until 3 p.m. giving you just enough time to go back to your hotel and get cleaned up for happy hour. (Plenty of bars and restaurants offer marathon specials.) Plus, the post race party also includes over 200 massage specialist who will be on hand free of charge to relieve your aching muscles.
The Marathon’s Elite Status
Alongside Boston, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and New York, the Chicago Marathon is one of the six international races that make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors- races that feature “championship style competition” for marathon runners. The Chicago Marathon is the fourth largest race by number of finishers worldwide. Winners of the marathon won’t just get international recognition – the men’s and women’s open division winners will also receive $100,000 prizes respectively. Plus, $75,000 bonus money for anyone who breaks an open division record. It’s important to note that not just anyone can qualify for this race. Runners first must meet a time qualifying standard or get selected through a general lottery. Runners from all 50 states and well over 100 countries participate in the race each year.
A Marathon that Gives Back
Each mile that you pound the pavement can make a difference in someone else’s life. More than 10,00 runners raised 16.9 million through the race’s 2016 Charity Program. Since the program’s inception in 2002 over 106,000 runners have raised $167 million for local, national and global causes.
The 2017 Charity Program is well underway with 170 charities participating. Runners who sign up will be required to raise a minimum of $1,500. That amount has the potential to make the following impacts: 30 children supported by Team World Vision will receive clean drinking water for the rest of their lives; the Greater Chicago Food Depository can provide meals for 4,500 men, women and children in the local Chicago community; and Chicago Run will assist 30 Chicago students with innovative and engaging youth running programs. That’s definitely added motivation to cross the finish line.
Even if you’re not one of the elite record holding runners who participate in the Chicago Marathon each year, you’ll certainly feel like one when the estimated 1.7 million spectators cheer you on from the start through the final stretch down Columbus drive. And that’s reason enough to add the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to your running bucket list.