The Chicago Marathon

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History behind the Chicago Marathon

One of the six World Marathon Majors, the Chicago Marathon was first held on September 25, 1977 under it’s original name, Mayor Daley Marathon. It has been held annually ever since, with the exception of the 1987 race when only a half-marathon was run. 2015’s race will commemorate the 38th anniversary of this event.

Owned by the Charlotte bank, the marathon is branded the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It takes place in Cook County, Illinois and features a fast and flat course, attracting people to set new personal and world records.

By the mid-1980’s, the Chicago Marathon was regarded as one of the four big marathons. This was also around the same time that it took on the nicknames “America’s Marathon” and “The World’s Marathon.”

The 2015 Chicago Marathon will take place on October 11, 2015.

First Chicago Marathon

The first Chicago Marathon took place in 1905 and featured a course similar to the one today, with a flatter surface throughout the first half of the race. The event was held annually until the 1920’s, before falling due to the tough times of that era.

1977 marked the first modern-era Chicago Marathon. After the Chicago Parks Superintendent, Ed Kelly, was objected after trying to refuse permission to run in the parks and along the Lake Michigan lakefront, the marathon was once again enlisted. The 1977 race brought in a total of 4,200 runners.

Records Breakers

The Chicago Marathon has hosted world records a total of four times in its’ existence. The first world record was beaten in the 1984 race by Steve Jones, who finished with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 5 seconds. The next one came in 1999 by a runner named Khalid Khannouchi with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 42 seconds.

The next two world records were women’s times beaten in consecutive years. The first was in 2001 by Catherine Ndereba with a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 47 seconds. The year after, Paula Radcliffe broke the world record with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds.

The Course

Chicago Marathon

The course features a loop course, starting and ending at Grant Park. With three main points labeled the North, South and West. Near each of these points, the city’s major stadiums are located. Wrigley Field is located near the North, the United Center is near the West and Cellular Field is near the South. In-between these points, runners will hit 29 of the city’s neighbourhoods.

Spread about one to three miles apart are 20 aid stations with medical staff present and ready to assist runners who are in need of their attention. There are also digital timers set every 5 kilometers.

Want to give it a go?

Chicago Skyline

Signing up for the Chicago Marathon is easy to do and can be done within the convenience of your own home. There are two ways to sign up, with a guaranteed entry or with a non-guaranteed lottery entry.

Since the marathon no longer operates under a first-come, first-serve basis, it’s a little harder to get in. If you opt to register with a non-guaranteed entry, you will be picked randomly along with all of the other registrants. Race spokespersons anticipate that a third to a half of the 45,000 limit will be filled with guaranteed entries, with the rest of the field picked via the lottery.

If you are planning on running with a family member or friend and would like a guaranteed spot in the race, you have a few options. If you’ve ran the race five or more times in the past, you can get a guaranteed entry. If you’re a male who has finished with a sub-3:15 in a marathon, you can get in. If you’re a woman who finished with a sub-3:45 in a marathon, you can get in. Lastly, you can sign up under a charity or tour and raise money for the charity you choose.

Last but not least, have fun! Give it your best shot and try to set new limits for yourself.

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