There will be over 45,000 runners, an estimated 2 million spectators, 19 Chicago neighborhoods and 26.2 miles.
Sunday, Oct. 9 marks the running of the 38th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon, an event that brings locals, out-of-towners and even celebrities together for one of the city’s biggest events of the fall.
The event begins and ends in downtown’s Grant Park, where an party for runners and a reunite area for family and friends awaits.
In addition to offering runners a flat, urban path, the marathon is known for offering great crowd support across the entire course. Still, some places along the route are hot spots to see runners and turn watching the race into a celebration.
To get from place to place along the race route using public transportation, use the marathon’s transportation guide.
Meanwhile, here are some of the best spots for watching and taking in the experience.
- Mile 1 – Near North Side: Those hoping to cheer on runners at the start of the race can get a good glimpse of the crowd at Grand Avenue — between Columbus Drive and State Street — near Mile 1. Anywhere along State Street — between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard – also gives offers an up-close look.
- Mile 3 – River North:The 5K mark is a good place for spectators to spot friends and family. Bonus – it’s just a few blocks away from the Mile 1 mark, so spectators should have no problem getting to this mile marker before their runners do.
- Mile 8 – Boystown/Lakeview: It may be early on a Sunday morning, but the party should be in full swing here, complete with drag queens, music, dancing and costumes. Runners will also race within a few blocks of the iconic Wrigley Field. Stop into one of the bars and restaurants along the race route on Broadway and enjoy a mimosa or a quick brunch.
- Mile 13 – Greektown: The half-way point of the race gives runners and race fans a little Greek with several restaurants and the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center along the route. With 13 miles left to go, it’s a nice spot to cheer on runners and boost their spirits – just before a charity block party awaits them at mile 14.
- Mile 19 – Pilsen: The culture – and the celebration – continues in Pilsen, a historically Mexican neighborhood. Runners and fans alike are treated to a street-party atmosphere with music, crowds and colorful murals painted on buildings along 18th Street.
- Mile 21- Chinatown: The spirits of runners and spectators are sure to get a boost from the neighborhood’s street-side celebration. There’s usually Chinese music playing from and dancers in a dragon costume. It’s an ideal final meeting point before reuniting with runners at the finish line.
- Mile 26 – South Loop: The energy is infectious and the crowds are often several rows deep at theclosest spot to the finish line — Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. Give your runners a final cheer here before meeting them at the runner reunite area in Butler Field, located north of Jackson Drive, between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.
For complete map of the marathon route please click here click here: 2013-Course-Map.