Overall Rating
Overall Rating (68 Reviews)
4.8
(68 Ratings)(68 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.1
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4
Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. Since its inaugural running in 1977, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has developed a global reputation for its fast, record-setting course. Year after year the Bank of America Chicago Marathon hosts representatives … MORE
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L (°F) 39 41 56 58 51
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Recent reviews

    bryangrullon FIRST-TIMER '18

    Being it is my first major, it is unlike any race I have experienced. Amazing build up, race production, and post-race celebration. The expo is huge; I could have spent … MORE

    Being it is my first major, it is unlike any race I have experienced. Amazing build up, race production, and post-race celebration. The expo is huge; I could have spent days there with all of the guests, panels, exhibitors, and swag!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
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    5
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    5
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    dreamer19750607 REPEAT RUNNER '19

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    BillyD0021 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Awsome atmosphere all weekend. Tremendous crowd support. Easily my favorite time spent running. Every marathoner needs to run this race. Being in a field of 45,000 makes you feel like … MORE

    Awsome atmosphere all weekend. Tremendous crowd support. Easily my favorite time spent running. Every marathoner needs to run this race. Being in a field of 45,000 makes you feel like you are part of something special. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    roisaac FIRST-TIMER '19

    The course was nice and flat, really only one hill at the end. Nice swag, I loved the medal and race shirt. The aid stations came at good times and … MORE

    The course was nice and flat, really only one hill at the end. Nice swag, I loved the medal and race shirt. The aid stations came at good times and they were all prepared for the amount of racers running through. Most of the course had tons of spectators cheering you on. The race had perfect weather. Start corals were good, being a slow runner, being in the last wave, it did take awhile to start but that didn’t bother me.

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    Rebolation FIRST-TIMER '19

    Great atmosphere. Production did an outstanding job managing over 45,000 runners. It was somewhat frustrating on the time difference from Wave 2 to 3, over 30 minutes, but I guess … MORE

    Great atmosphere. Production did an outstanding job managing over 45,000 runners. It was somewhat frustrating on the time difference from Wave 2 to 3, over 30 minutes, but I guess there is nothing much to do.
    Lots of water & gatorade stops, almost every mile.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5

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    slease1 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first time running Chicago and my second marathon. My experience was much like everyone else but thought a couple of things were worth mentioning. We stayed at … MORE

    This was my first time running Chicago and my second marathon. My experience was much like everyone else but thought a couple of things were worth mentioning.

    We stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive which coincidentally also served as a stop for the shuttle to the expo at McCormick Place. We went to the expo after we arrived on Friday and rush hour was just getting underway. We were able to get on the bus right away but it did take a little bit of time to get to the expo. On the way back there were huge lines of people waiting to take the shuttles back and we waited in line for more than an hour for our shuttle. Apparently there was a bad accident along the shuttle route, thus slowing things down even more in the heavy evening rush. While this isn’t the fault of the marathon, it should be noted that if you go later in the day on Friday you run the risk of delays getting back to your hotel. We were on our feet much longer than we wanted to be that day.

    As for the race it was great! Getting to Grant Park and the start was not a problem. Water stops were plentiful as were the spectators. I very much appreciated the crowds in the Pilsen and Chinatown neighborhoods late in the race. They were lively and really lifted me up. It was nice to still see so many out cheering for us back of the pack runners. Post race it appeared that they had blocked off access to the party, which was disappointing to say the least. That said, they were handing out beers to runners as they were walking through the chute which made up for it…a little.

    I would definitely consider running Chicago again as overall it was a great experience.

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    MissPatRuns Nov 24, 2019 at 5:36am

    Congratulations, Stacy! I am a turtle...true back of the packer who will likely need the full time to finish. You mentioned the finish party being closed off, I wanted to… MORE

    Congratulations, Stacy! I am a turtle...true back of the packer who will likely need the full time to finish. You mentioned the finish party being closed off, I wanted to clarify whether after doing all that hard work and running for hours, would the finish party not be open to me and others at the back? I don’t like beer, so giving it out at the finish line would not work for me. I just would like to have whatever everyone else experienced (snacks, music, cheer, whatever) if I finish within the time. Thank you so much! LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 23, 2019 at 1:04pm

    Congrats on marathon #2 Stacy, you certainly know how to pick 'em! And yes, as you mentioned re: the lively crowds, the people of Chicago are amazing and definitely embrace… MORE

    Congrats on marathon #2 Stacy, you certainly know how to pick 'em! And yes, as you mentioned re: the lively crowds, the people of Chicago are amazing and definitely embrace their marathon. After the race and for the rest of the day, strangers on the street would see my medal, walk up to me and congratulate me — quite a feeling, and I hope you experienced the same. Thanks for your excellent review, and hope you have many more marathons (including four more Majors) in your future! LESS

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    slease1 Oct 23, 2019 at 1:12pm

    Mike, thank you for the kind words. Chicago really was welcoming and yes, I did wear my medal around town after and received congratulations as well. When I ran NYC… MORE

    Mike, thank you for the kind words. Chicago really was welcoming and yes, I did wear my medal around town after and received congratulations as well. When I ran NYC last year it was crazy how many people commented and congratulated me after the race. I am hoping to get the other 4 majors in at some point...maybe Berlin in 2020. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 23, 2019 at 1:16pm

    Wonderful, so glad to hear it Stacy! Good luck on your Six Stars quest, and look forward to following your continuing racing adventures here on RaceRaves!

    Wonderful, so glad to hear it Stacy! Good luck on your Six Stars quest, and look forward to following your continuing racing adventures here on RaceRaves!

     
    Brianarg FIRST-TIMER '19

    From an excellent Expo (except for Nike being out of sizes other than XXL), to an orderly staging of 46,000 people, to amazing crowd support and no hills, to an … MORE

    From an excellent Expo (except for Nike being out of sizes other than XXL), to an orderly staging of 46,000 people, to amazing crowd support and no hills, to an awesome medal and a free “26.2” beer…. this was an amazing experience! Final stretch on Michigan Avenue was so loud and energizing just when I needed it to reach my PR! Thank you Chicago 😀❤️🏃🏅

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    jgregg42 FIRST-TIMER '11

    I've ran it once and still talk about it often. flat course. 1.5 million spectators cheering you on. who needs headphones? awesome after party. run this race. MORE

    I’ve ran it once and still talk about it often. flat course. 1.5 million spectators cheering you on. who needs headphones? awesome after party. run this race.

    DIFFICULTY
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    sarastew FIRST-TIMER '19

    Chicago was fun and large. Best part was starting at Grant park since so many of the hotels are very close. I was in Gate #1 which had a line … MORE

    Chicago was fun and large. Best part was starting at Grant park since so many of the hotels are very close.

    I was in Gate #1 which had a line that took almost 30 minutes to get through, then the hospitality tent was on the clear other end of the park. Not worth the expense when the tent was so far from the red corrals.

    After running NYC, then some smaller races, I felt drowned out in the crowd. There was plenty of crowd support, the water stops were plentiful, and the volunteers were amazing.

    The medal was somewhat basic, but on a prestige level of being one of the majors, its somewhat humbling. We also did the 5k the day prior which was a lot of fun. I probably won’t do this one again as its just too many people for me.

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 23, 2019 at 1:01pm

    The Majors are definitely in a class by themselves, size-wise — energizing at times, overwhelming at others. And yes, it's easy to feel lost in those crowds. Luckily there are… MORE

    The Majors are definitely in a class by themselves, size-wise — energizing at times, overwhelming at others. And yes, it's easy to feel lost in those crowds. Luckily there are only six of them, and given the costs it's easy to space them out over time. Glad you enjoyed Chicago (3 cheers for that Grant Park start!); alongside Boston it's my favorite of the Majors so far, with London still to go. Congrats on earning star #2, and appreciate your helpful review. On to Boston! 🙌 LESS

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    jdhunt FIRST-TIMER '19

    Going into the Chicago Marathon, I was confident that this would be a quintessential "big city" marathon experience. And I was right, as the race went off exactly as I … MORE

    Going into the Chicago Marathon, I was confident that this would be a quintessential “big city” marathon experience. And I was right, as the race went off exactly as I expected. It was very organized and polished – the race felt like it was very professionally done. Of course, being one of the “6 majors” where some of the best runners in the world compete for fame and fortune, one would expect that the organizers have all of their ducks in a row.

    I’m going to finish this later.

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    Donnie FIRST-TIMER '19

    My second time to get selected for Chicago but my first time to participate and it was worth the expense and trip. This was only my 7th marathon but it … MORE

    My second time to get selected for Chicago but my first time to participate and it was worth the expense and trip.
    This was only my 7th marathon but it was probably the best to me or in a tie with Disney. Chicago knows how to put on a marathon. Disney is Disney and if they didn’t have the characters and Disney magic, Chicago would clearly be the best that I have run. I am sure faster runners would prefer Chicago

    The expo was good. I was expecting something a bit larger knowing Chicago is one of the six world majors but we have all noticed expos have shrunk in size over the last few years. It wasn’t small I guess I just built it up in my mind. One good thing is most vendors were running vendors and not someone trying to sell me windows. We stayed at the host hotel and there was bus transportation to the expo.

    Race day. Very organized. We were blessed with almost perfect marathon weather this year. All that preface weather stress for nothing. There are four wave starts if you count the wheeled start. But three wave starts for runners. I think each wave had five corrals. I also believe most corrals were honor system in that when you register you tell them your estimated finish time and you are seeded based on what you list, no proof of time is required. There was water and lots of restrooms available preface. The course is very flat and what few inclines are there aren’t noticeable. Not eve the on at the finish. Water stations are large and placed on course at perfect intervals. Water and sports drink are at all stations. The sports drink is not watered down some of the later stations have sports gels, gummies, or bananas. There are also plea to of unofficial water stations as well as spectators handing out anything from water, candy, fruit, Gatorade, pretzels, and beer. This event has the best spectator support of any that I have run no matter the distance or location. Most of the time the crowd was two to five people deep. Even in the lass supported areas you still had spectators. Pace teams were available (I should of stuck with mine and I might of made my 4:00, probably not). With 45,000 runners the course is almost always crowded. Finish line – also crowded. Medals, b
    Heat blanket, water, apples, bananas, and Gatorade are all handed out. The chute to exit the secured runner area could of been wider as we were bottlenecked and at times stood still. Not good for an exhausted body.
    There was a post race festival but I didn’t visit.
    Overall an awesome event and one of if not the best one I have been fortunate to run. Two things I will never forget. While Chinatown is cool, the mixture of Asian food spices/smells are not great when you are nearing the end of your energy reserves. Also I will always remember your shoes sticking to the course at the water stops due to all the Gatorade on the ground. You don’t have this at your local race as the drink is always so watered down. One world major down five to go? Well a poor runner can dream…………….
    See you in New York in three weeks.

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    vinicius-isola FIRST-TIMER '19

    Cheering all way through, aid stations were plenty and service was great. Bathrooms were also plenty and well located. Organization was just perfect. For an event with 45k people, I … MORE

    Cheering all way through, aid stations were plenty and service was great. Bathrooms were also plenty and well located.
    Organization was just perfect. For an event with 45k people, I didn’t see any glitch.

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    enigma20 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Typical big city race which means very congested running in the early miles, but lots of crowd support. There are plenty of good places to cheer on your runner and … MORE

    Typical big city race which means very congested running in the early miles, but lots of crowd support. There are plenty of good places to cheer on your runner and easy to find them at the end.
    The course was mostly flat, with a hill near the end. The bridges have metal gratings, but are generally covered with large carpets. There are several turns on this course. My watch was messed up early due to all the buildings, so plan accordingly. The wind was strong and contributed to my second half demise.
    On course support was great. Plenty of places and the water vs gatorade was clearly marked.
    The convention center for the packet pickup was crazy to get around due to all the traffic. I would probably try to take public transportation next time.
    Overall, it was a pretty good experience if you’re into running. 🙂

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 23, 2019 at 1:08pm

    Ha! Great way to sum up Chicago, Ron... congrats on a strong run and thanks for your thoughtful review!

    Ha! Great way to sum up Chicago, Ron... congrats on a strong run and thanks for your thoughtful review!

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    jahbrink FIRST-TIMER '19

    Easy, flat course. Great production, aid stations, security. Tons of crowd participation! So much fun!! Make sure your bib is showing and smile a lot. They take great pictures. And … MORE

    Easy, flat course. Great production, aid stations, security. Tons of crowd participation! So much fun!! Make sure your bib is showing and smile a lot. They take great pictures. And they hand you a beer at the finish line. Thanks Goose Island!

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    Chicago is a must for all marathoners. The event is well-run and the course is super fast in a decent weather. It was in the 60s with on-and-off rain when … MORE

    Chicago is a must for all marathoners. The event is well-run and the course is super fast in a decent weather. It was in the 60s with on-and-off rain when I ran it in 2018. The corrals are well organized and I didnt feel like I needed to do much weaving around other runners. I ran on the blue tangent line the entire race but still ended up running .2 over. GPS does not work well because of the tall buildings so I purchased a stryd foot pod to really on for an accurate pace. It worked like a charm and I would highly recommend it. The expo is huge! The finish area was well organized. I stayed at a hotel right along Grant Park so it was an easy walk to the start and from the finish.

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    jboro89 FIRST-TIMER '18

    – this course is fantastic, block after block the race was packed with fans – great for family/friends to spectate as they can get many different places along the course … MORE

    – this course is fantastic, block after block the race was packed with fans
    – great for family/friends to spectate as they can get many different places along the course
    – the weather was perfect, cool and a little overcast
    – it was my first marathon and I’d love to run it again

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    joolee88 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I would highly recommend this run for all first timers! This was my first full marathon, and it was great! From the expo to the course to the people cheering … MORE

    I would highly recommend this run for all first timers! This was my first full marathon, and it was great! From the expo to the course to the people cheering on the side, it was a race I will remember. This may be my first and possibly last marathon but I am so glad I choose this one to do. Running through an unfamiliar city made me more curious and it kept me going. Although after mile 18 was all mental, I am so happy I finished it!

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    Ran for a charity organization - Opportunity Enterprises. The group I trained with sucked me into marathons! Charity Village was awesome for a first timer. Great, huge crowd support and … MORE

    Ran for a charity organization – Opportunity Enterprises. The group I trained with sucked me into marathons!

    Charity Village was awesome for a first timer.

    Great, huge crowd support and plenty of aid stations!

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    cinmetsruns941 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This was my first major marathon and it did not disappoint. Highly organized. Great crowd along the entire course. No words to describe the energy there. The course is flat. … MORE

    This was my first major marathon and it did not disappoint. Highly organized. Great crowd along the entire course. No words to describe the energy there. The course is flat. My only complaint is the course is crowded. Otherwise this is a must do race. It will be an experience you’ll never forget.

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    I volunteered as a course marshall at mile marker 25 and loved watching Sir Mo fly by me to win this race and break a record. As a former runner … MORE

    I volunteered as a course marshall at mile marker 25 and loved watching Sir Mo fly by me to win this race and break a record. As a former runner of this race, I appreciated seeing the front of the pack. The race is well run and the city of Chicago does a fantastic job. Great hotel and food options near the race.

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