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How to Get Into the Chicago Marathon

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The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is held annually on the first Sunday of October. It is one of the most popular marathons in the world and is known for its flat, fast track. You can enter the Chicago Marathon through a guaranteed entry or by entering the lottery.

When to apply?

To participate in the Chicago Marathon, you must register during the registration period. Applications open at the end of October of the year before the race and close at the end of November.

The basic requirement states that you must be 16 years of age or older and capable of running 26.2 miles in six hours and 30 minutes. Anyone under the age of 18 must have parental permission.

For example, applications for the 2019 Chicago Marathon opened October 23, 2018, for guaranteed entry, and October 30, 2018, for non-guaranteed entry. The application period ends on November 29, 2018.

In 2019, the Chicago Marathon registration fee is $205 for US residents. International athletes are charged $230 for the event.

The 2020 Chicago Marathon — like the other Abbott World Marathons that year — has been cancelled. Athletes are allowed to postpone registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2021, 2022 or 2023.

Join the Guaranteed Marathon in Chicago

There are several ways to get a guaranteed Chicago Marathon slot. This is the route that many people participate in, including many people running a marathon for the first time.

Charity program

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon hosts thousands of runners who have chosen to make the experience more meaningful by running on behalf of a charity. Charity runners will receive a marathon entry in exchange for fundraising for a specific charity. These runners start the training season with the goal of achieving their personal best during their marathon as well as the amount of money they hope to raise.

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More than 10,000 charity runners participate each year, and they represent over 170 local, national and global causes. The minimum required fundraising amount is $1,250 by the deadline date and $1,750 after the drawing deadline date. However, some charities set their requirements higher than this minimum.

International travel program

International runners who choose to join an official Chicago Marathon International Marathon partner can secure their spot in the marathon at any time during the lottery. Groups from 40 countries are eligible and you must purchase a tour, including travel expenses.

Chicago Marathon Legacy Finisher

Athletes who have completed the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the past 10 years can secure their spot at any time during the lottery.

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

Every March, Bank of America sponsors the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago. If you have entered this 8K race four or more times in the past and registered for the race in the year of the marathon, you are eligible for the Chicago Marathon.

Entry is canceled

Chicago Marathon organizers understand that circumstances prevent some runners from participating. If you need to cancel your entry in the previous year, you can enter next year’s race through this program. The only stipulation is that you have strictly adhered to the event cancellation policy.

Qualifier time

In 2018, the race established new time qualifiers based on age and gender standards. The age range is determined by your age on race day.

To be eligible for this program, you must have completed a USA Track and Field (USATF) certified course between January 1 of the year prior to application and the date of application (eg. : January 1, 2019, for applications submitted in October to November 2020 for the 2021 race).

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The qualifying times may be modified in the future, but the qualifying times for the 2019 race are:

Age group Man Women
16 to 29 3:05:00 3:35:00
30 to 39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40 to 49 3:20:00 3:50:00
50 to 59 3:35:00 4:20:00
60 to 69 4:00:00 5:00:00
70 to 79 4:30:00 5:55:00
80 and up 5:25:00 6:10:00

Entry is not guaranteed

If you do not meet the requirements for any of the guaranteed entry programmes, you can still apply for the draw for your chance to participate. You must register within the announced registration period. Notification of acceptance to participate in the marathon is usually sent in mid-December.

Women’s running reported that in 2018, about 70% of the runners at the Chicago marathon were entered into the race through the lottery.

The odds of getting into the Chicago Marathon through the lottery system will vary from year to year. It depends on the number of runners that have been accepted through the guaranteed entry programs and the number of people applying for the lottery.

For example, in 2015, The World of Runners reported that about 53% of the 54,800 lottery applicants were accepted. Compared to other marathons, such as the New York City Marathon at around 18%, these are pretty good odds.

End time requirements

The event is for runners and walkers who can maintain their pace to the finish line in 6:30. Course support is removed on a 15 minute per mile basis after the last starting wave passes.

If you are not at this speed, you will have to move onto the sidewalk because the road will be open to traffic. Aid stations will also be closed according to that time schedule. If you exceed the requested time, you may not receive the official end time. Race reserves the right to remove slower riders from the track.

frequently asked Questions

How long is the Chicago marathon?

The Chicago Marathon is 26.2 miles (or 42,195 kilometers) long.

How many people run in the Chicago marathon?

Nearly 35,000 participants are expected to take part in the 2021 Chicago Marathon. In 2019, there were approximately 45,000 marathon runners.

When does the Chicago marathon take place?

The Chicago Marathon takes place every October. In 2021, the race will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2021.

How many miles is the Chicago marathon?

The Chicago Marathon is 26.2 km away.

How do you watch the Chicago marathon?

Visitors can watch the Chicago marathon live along the course’s route. The marathon is also broadcast annually on NBC 5 Chicago television and online at nbcchi Chicago.com.

A very good word

The Chicago Marathon is a good choice for runners who are new to the marathon experience. If you want to apply, be sure to do so ahead of time. Notice early enough so you can keep practicing for race day.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we verify authenticity and keep our content accurate, trustworthy and trustworthy.

  1. Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Year 2021 Application.

  2. Hetzel M. Chicago Marathon Lottery by numbers. The World of Runners.

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