Overall Rating
Overall Rating (43 Reviews)
4.8
(43 Ratings)(43 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.9
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4.1
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
Local Weather (Oct 13)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 55 72 55 62 68
L (°F) 38 54 41 51 57
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Recent reviews

    MarkEdwards FIRST-TIMER '98

    This was actually called La Salle Banks Chicago Marathon at this time. Same great course and same great crowd. Much more swag at the expo back then. MORE

    This was actually called La Salle Banks Chicago Marathon at this time. Same great course and same great crowd. Much more swag at the expo back then.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    cedoyle FIRST-TIMER '18

    Well organized race. Flat course with a lots of turns. The race was crowded most of the way, which worked for me so I did not overextend myself. The water … MORE

    Well organized race. Flat course with a lots of turns. The race was crowded most of the way, which worked for me so I did not overextend myself. The water stations were well-marked, frequent, and easy to access. The weather was good for running (60 F, overcast, light rain at times). Overall, it was a very positive experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    dunguyen90 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Good: Beautiful course which showed off all the different neighborhoods AND went into the city Great aid stations which were well spaced apart and had plenty of options Great swag … MORE

    Good:
    Beautiful course which showed off all the different neighborhoods AND went into the city
    Great aid stations which were well spaced apart and had plenty of options
    Great swag bag with plenty of different snacks and so many calories to replenish with
    Great organization
    Awesome crowd! Really amazing to see people on every single mile of the course
    I, personally, had a great performance

    Meh:
    The bridges need to be covered completely with carpets as the metal grids seem unsteady to run on
    Where’s all the bananas? I think I only saw one aid station with bananas
    A bit rainy

    Bad:
    Honestly, nothing was really that bad

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    chapinwc FIRST-TIMER '18

    Convenient to be in the Downtown Hilton right near the start and finish lines and they had arranged shuttles to the Expo and that was helpful. Being the official Marathon … MORE

    Convenient to be in the Downtown Hilton right near the start and finish lines and they had arranged shuttles to the Expo and that was helpful. Being the official Marathon hotel though I thought they could have rolled out the carpet more to the runners given the prices of the rooms. Expo was large as expected and efficient in terms of getting the bibs although I thought the long walk through the vendors to get a mediocre quality shirt was unnecessary. The Nike made Chicago marathon running garb featured at the expo and the online store after the race including the finisher shirts seemed to be significantly better quality and more fashionable. I suppose it would be too much to ask and $$ lost to expect those shirts for an event with 45,000 runners. It would be nice if they stepped up their game for the basic participant free shirt nonetheless (at least the design and color). The morning of the race was well organized with many volunteers to help guide you through the chain linked fence maze of Grant Park. Despite the early morning drizzle there was palpable excitement at the start with the announcement of the elites, signing of the national anthem by a soprano from the Lyric Opera followed by the countdown. Better than that though was crossing the starting line to the loudspeakers blasting “Sweet Home Chicago” the Blues Brothers version-nice homage to the host city. My advice is to get in your desired pace zone early and park it there for the first 13 miles trying not to better you preordained first split. It’s easy to go out fast here and end up with the first 10K a PR rather than an eventual marathon PR. We had a little wind coming at us at times heading west out of the downtown after the 1/2 marathon mark and there seemed to be a general slow down for 5k after that by the masses so it was important to stay on one’s own pace. This seemed to be a race that if you didn’t waste your reserves early you could really benefit by the flat profile at the end put the hammer down for the last 5k and psychologically get that boost of passing the struggling stragglers (unfortunately I only had enough in the tank to put a small hammer down for the last mile). The course is great for spectators and even my 70+ year old country mice parents managed to see me at 3 different points along the course so there is no excuse for your crew not to be out there cheering you on to a PR(although access to last bit of course to finish line is restricted). 2018 was unusual in terms of precipitation as this race historically has had dry weather since 2006 although for this Pacific NW based runner it was not a deterrent. What was a deterrent was the viral syndrome and low grade fever in the 48 hours before the race. Not a fan of vitamin ibu before or during races given potential kidney issues but 400mg ibuprofen at 4am given my malaise prior to the race probably salvaged my race. Added note: the Chicago Art Museum is super close to Grant Park and worth your while to visit and if you used a bank of america debit or credit card the day of race we received a free entrance ticket with purchase of another. I’m not sure though if the marathon tired me more or walking on those museum marble floors for 2 hours that afternoon.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 23, 2018 at 8:14am

    Great review Bill, though let’s not bury the lead — congrats on the sub-3! And especially 48 hrs after a fever, that’s some kind of recovery. Glad your parents were able to follow you on the course, that had to make the day that much sweeter. Well done!

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    ucd76 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Very flat course. It can be a bit crowded but the course covers the entire roadway so plenty of room to maneuver. Well organized start, plenty of PP's, well stocked … MORE

    Very flat course. It can be a bit crowded but the course covers the entire roadway so plenty of room to maneuver. Well organized start, plenty of PP’s, well stocked water stations with friendly volunteers. The crowd supports most of the course despite wet conditions. My wife was able to see me easily at a couple of locations though she couldn’t get near the finish line.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    ihafij FIRST-TIMER '18

    First time running in Chicago. Very fun city. Didn't like that you had to be in the start corrals so early and no port a pots available. Was not able … MORE

    First time running in Chicago. Very fun city. Didn’t like that you had to be in the start corrals so early and no port a pots available. Was not able to go until mile 6 due to the long lines. Seeing the city was nice!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    GoRunGolf FIRST-TIMER '17

    The volunteers seemed clueless. The course was ‘ok.’ It was so hot, Runners were vomiting mid stride and passing out. I will say that the pre race tent was amazing … MORE

    The volunteers seemed clueless. The course was ‘ok.’ It was so hot, Runners were vomiting mid stride and passing out.
    I will say that the pre race tent was amazing and worth every penny.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    rbfrmrville REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Chicago is always my favorite marathon to run because of the hype of it being a major and having over 45k runners. This year's course was a little hillier than … MORE

    Chicago is always my favorite marathon to run because of the hype of it being a major and having over 45k runners.

    This year’s course was a little hillier than last year and in my opinion the weather was better. 2017 weather was 85 degree and sunny and 2018 weather was about 55-60 degrees and a little rain and wind.

    The crowd was great, as well as, the water stops about every 1.5-2 miles.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    mira5b FIRST-TIMER '18

    Awesome marathon. The positive energy from the crowd and other runners was off the chart. Very well organized, especially when you consider there are close to 45,000 runners! Water/Gatorade stations … MORE

    Awesome marathon. The positive energy from the crowd and other runners was off the chart. Very well organized, especially when you consider there are close to 45,000 runners! Water/Gatorade stations were well placed and well manned. Crowd support was unbelievable with very little of the course not covered with people, often two or three deep.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    rrusso6 FIRST-TIMER '18

    First of all, it's flat for people from areas with hills, but for someone from the Gulf South, this is NOT flat lol It was rainy and cold, which made … MORE

    First of all, it’s flat for people from areas with hills, but for someone from the Gulf South, this is NOT flat lol It was rainy and cold, which made the bridges slippery, but otherwise was a good race. Finish line could’ve been a tad more organized. NYC just has me spoiled. It’s still a great race though! Highly recommend.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    bjrobinette FIRST-TIMER '18

    Great crowd support throughout the race, but very crowded streets at times. I spent a lot of time and energy running around walkers in the middle of the road and … MORE

    Great crowd support throughout the race, but very crowded streets at times. I spent a lot of time and energy running around walkers in the middle of the road and avoiding spectators. BUT, the organization is excellent, awesome expo, and cheering crowds for the entire 26.2. There is a reason over 40,000 run this race. Just don’t expect a lot of elbow room.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    mjmag REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I can't say anything new about this race except that it never disappoints! And my recommendation to anyone running it is to ditch the headphones! I finally did this year … MORE

    I can’t say anything new about this race except that it never disappoints! And my recommendation to anyone running it is to ditch the headphones! I finally did this year in my fourth year in a row running it and really enjoyed the crowds in all 29 neighborhoods as well as the awesome smiling, cheering, helpful volunteers.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    alpacquing FIRST-TIMER '17

    It was 90s all the way thru the course and I PR'd before Big Sur. This is my 3rd star to complete the six world marathon majors. ************************************** MORE

    It was 90s all the way thru the course and I PR’d before Big Sur. This is my 3rd star to complete the six world marathon majors. **************************************

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    jmskafidas FIRST-TIMER '17

    If this is not already on your "must do marathons" list, you best add it towards the top! From the moment you enter the expo center you are swept up … MORE

    If this is not already on your “must do marathons” list, you best add it towards the top! From the moment you enter the expo center you are swept up in excitement the of the event! If you’re not able to stay at a hotel close to downtown don’t fret, you are still able to easily access the start line using public transportation. They do an amazing job with organization in terms of the corrals. Be sure to submit your best half marathon or marathon time, as you will otherwise be placed in the very last corral and have awhile to wait to kick off your race. Regardless, there’s no better way to see the ins and out of this amazing city. The crowd embraces your from the very start to the very end of the race, which is the best motivation of all!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    pollygolightly2 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Words cannot begin to describe The Chicago Marathon. It was excellent. All the way around. My performance may have been less than desired, but it was a great race, and … MORE

    Words cannot begin to describe The Chicago Marathon. It was excellent. All the way around. My performance may have been less than desired, but it was a great race, and I am already signed up for next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    pkroon FIRST-TIMER '14

    What an awesome experience it was! My whole family came out and cheered for me as I improved more than a min/mile from my previous best marathon time. It was … MORE

    What an awesome experience it was! My whole family came out and cheered for me as I improved more than a min/mile from my previous best marathon time. It was very well organized—and it has to be with over 45,000 runners involved. Definitely make this a destination race, and plan time to see the city while you are in town.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    ShawnBeazy FIRST-TIMER '15

    Chicago (the race) is HUGE, so you will be in a crowd for about 25 miles. As a result, there's not a lot of room for maneuvering. Crowd support is … MORE

    Chicago (the race) is HUGE, so you will be in a crowd for about 25 miles. As a result, there’s not a lot of room for maneuvering. Crowd support is the best I’ve ever seen, with people along every inch of this fantastic, flat course. You get to see the 29 neighbourhoods of Chicago and feel that Midwestern welcome. Run this race—you won’t regret it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    karenfuss FIRST-TIMER '17

    I like the beginning of the race, crossing over the bridges over the river. I feel that the last half of the race has very little to see as someone … MORE

    I like the beginning of the race, crossing over the bridges over the river. I feel that the last half of the race has very little to see as someone who is not familiar with Chicago. It was a beautiful day except for the extreme winds before the start. The volunteers and water stops were great. Having pictures next to the fountain and seeing the sunrise over the park in the morning was fantastic.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    dmpg1127 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was the best of the two Marathons I've done (the other being NYC). The organization was awesome, the support was the best. The logistics all around were perfect. The … MORE

    This was the best of the two Marathons I’ve done (the other being NYC). The organization was awesome, the support was the best. The logistics all around were perfect. The weather was warmer than expected and I had some health issues on the course. If I ever repeat a full (I’m not doing many) this would be the one.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    rbfrmrville FIRST-TIMER '17

    -Flat course -Great fan support -Water/Gatorade every 1.5 to 2 miles -This was my first full marathon and even though the weather didn't cooperate (it was a hotter day) I … MORE

    -Flat course
    -Great fan support
    -Water/Gatorade every 1.5 to 2 miles
    -This was my first full marathon and even though the weather didn’t cooperate (it was a hotter day) I finished and am going to apply for the lottery again next year

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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