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Race previews Bank of America Chicago Marathon

01 July 2024, 10am

Six world records have been set at this race through the city

A diverse and colourful cultural tour

Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Sun 13 October 2024

Fav 2023 boa marathon 236

In 1976 a small band of running enthusiasts met at the Metropolitan YMCA on LaSalle Street in Chicago to plan a marathon in the city. This founding group realized their vision on 25 September 1977 when they hosted 4200 local participants in the first Chicago Marathon.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has since expanded to 50,000 registered runners and hundreds of thousands of on-course spectators. The event annually welcomes participants from more than 100 countries including a world-class professional field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity participants.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon begins and ends in Grant Park, a 312-acre (126 hectares) park considered the city’s front yard. The event’s 26.2-mile course sweeps through 29 diverse and colourful neighbourhoods on a cultural and architectural tour of Chicago.

Before reaching the 5km mark runners have already passed through the areas of Streeterville and River North on their way to the Loop. The Loop is Chicago’s central business district, taking its name from the elevated train lines that surround it. The Loop blends historic and modern architecture to showcase why Chicago is considered a world-class architectural city.

From there participants head north, passing through the Near North Side, Old Town and enjoy a stretch through Lincoln Park – the largest park in Chicago. Runners reach the northernmost point of the course through Lakeview, known for its lively crowds, before returning downtown.

Near the halfway point the course traces the Chicago River before crossing it for the fifth time on one of the city’s famous bascule bridges.

As runners head west they experience the city’s bustling Greektown and West Loop neighbourhoods, taking in sights such as the United Center, the landmarked Jackson Boulevard District and the University of Illinois Chicago before reaching Little Italy and heading south to Pilsen. Renowned as one of the most energetic and exciting neighborhoods along the course, Pilsen is rich in Latino culture with vibrant murals decorating the buildings.

After Pilsen participants reach Chinatown, running underneath the famous Chinatown Gate and then on through Bronzeville, at the course’s southernmost point, before turning back north to head up the famed Michigan Avenue to the towering skyscrapers that make up the city’s skyline. The final stretch features one of the only hills on the course, before runners return to cross the finish line in the heart of Grant Park.

As an Abbott World Marathon Major race, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a long history of hosting the world’s fastest professional runners, along with amateurs seeking to take advantage of autumn weather and the race’s fast, flat course. It has been the site of three men’s world records (Steve Jones, 2:08:05, 1984; Khalid Khannouchi, 2:05:42, 1999; and Kelvin Kiptum, 2:00:35, 2023) and three women’s world records (Catherine Ndereba, 2:18:47, 2001; Paula Radcliffe, 2:17:18, 2002; and Brigid Kosgei, 2:14:04, 2019).

The 46th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday,13 October 2024.

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