Chicago Marathon 2015: What to know and where to watch

Chicago Marathon 2015: What to know and where to watch

This Sunday, October 11, 2015, 45,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will be hitting the streets of Chicago for the 38th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon–a 26.2 mile course which starts and finishes in Grant Park.

The Chicago Marathon 2015 begins at 7:20 a.m. (wheelchair race), 7:30 a.m. (marathon wave 1) and 8:00 a.m. (marathon wave 2), and continues throughout the day.

The race goes as far west as Damen between Adams and Jackson.  As far north as Addison between Broadway and the Inner Drive. And as far south at 35th Street between State Street and Michigan Avenue.

Course map from 2013

Course map from 2013

Runners go through the New East Side, Streeterville, the Magnificent Mile, The Loop, River North, Near North, Old Town, Old Town Triangle, Lakeview East, Park West. Lincoln Park, West Loop Gate, West Loop, Greektown, Near West Side Little Italy, University Village, Illinois Medical District, Pilsen, East Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Park Boulevard, Bronzeville, The Gap, South Commons, South Loop, Prairie District and Central Station.

Watching the race

It is recommended that spectators watch runners from somewhere outside Grant Park. After the race they can meet their runner/runners at the designated runner reunite area at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 27th Mile Post-Race Party in Grant Park.

If you’re looking to view runners closest to race start, go to Grand Avenue, between Columbus Drive and State Street, near Mile one, or anywhere along State Street, between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard.

If you want to be near the finish line head to the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.

Take a virtual run through the course below:

Popular spots for viewing the race…

  • The Chicago Riverwalk
. The Riverwalk runs along Wacker Drive just south of the Chicago River. Runners can be seen early in the race crossing both the State Street and LaSalle Street bridges.
  • Chinatown. Another popular place for spectators is Chicago’s Chinatown.  The runners go through Chinatown later in the race at 21st and 22nd mile mark. In addition to the race, spectators can enjoy the sights, sounds and restaurants of Chinatown and avoid traffic by taking the Water Taxi from Michigan Ave. by the Wrigley Building and the River or the stop at the Ogilvie Transportation Center to Ping Tom Park in Chinatown or take the CTA Red Line to the Chinatown stop (Cermak).
  • Clark Street and Broadway. The runners will travel south on Broadway to Clark over an approximately 3-mile stretch from Addison Street (Wrigley Field) to Webster.  There are many restaurants and bars along the way with outdoor sitting for customers who want to view the Marathon…plus an opportunity to bask in Cubs post season fever.
  • Lincoln Park
 Zoo. The 4th, 5th, and 6th miles of the race wind through Lincoln Park. This is a beautiful spot to watch the runners and enjoy the amenities of the park including the North Pond, Cafe Brauer and the zoo.
  • River North. The runners will travel on LaSalle and Wells Street in the River North neighborhood.  Spectators can nourish themselves at Chicago favorites including Rock N’ Roll McDonalds.
  • Pilsen. Head to 18th Street between Ashland and Halsted for mile 19 of the race and a taste of Mexico at the authentic Latino eateries located there.
  • Little Italy. Taylor Street between Ashland and Halsted is home to a delicious assortment of Italian restaurants from casual to fancy.  The 17th mile is runs through this Near West Side neighborhood.

Traffic Impacts (a note from OEMC )

With thousands of participants and spectators along the route, as well as street closures prior and during the race, those traveling throughout downtown and the various neighborhoods should allow extra time, expect delays or consider alternate routes – such as the expressway system – to avoid the impacts of the race.

Motorists should be aware that some street and lane closures are already in place in the Grant Park area, including Balbo from Columbus to Lake Shore Drive.  Additional street closures in the race day start/finish line area can be expected thereafter, beginning on Wednesday when Jackson will be closed from Columbus to Lake Shore Drive.  Columbus closures begin Thursday, with a full closure implemented from Roosevelt Road to Monroe By Friday. By Saturday, expect additional Grant Park street closures on Columbus, Balbo, Congress, Jackson and Monroe, with most streets in Grant Park reopening by Monday morning.  Street closures along the route will begin at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Sunday and are anticipated to be reopened by 4:30 p.m. or when it is deemed safe to do so.

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