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Chicago Marathon Reviews


4.8 Stars from 44 Runners





  

By about 2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

The crowds are unbelievable! Awesome!

The second part goes for some miles through some semi-industrial area. Otherwise, best way to see the city!


Race Tips

Your GPS will not work!!! There is a tunnel in the beginning and as you get out, you are in a canyon of deep buildings. Everyone's GPS is off. Note the mile markers.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Loved the Parker House. Yeah, very pricey, but how often do you run Chicago?


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Loved the crowds, the organization ..the course is flat. Not a single bad thing to say about this race.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Plan ahead. Everything from lodging to meals and strategy. The day is overwhelming (I think) and the better planned the better run.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Crowd support is awesome, very well organized, lots of pace groups (pacers), great weather, nice course.


Race Tips

The race is slow going at the start until about mile 3, so, plan your pacing accordingly. There are long lines at the port-a-toilets at the beginning of the race and at the first few bathroom stops along the race course, so, wait until around mile 8 or later to use a port-a-toilet if needed.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

The Hilton Chicago hotel is nice and within a 5 minute walk to the start of the race.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

just a wonderful experience. The city was abuzz. Everyone was so supportive even as i was walking to the park in near darkness to get ready---Police, city workers, passersby, people opening their shops. Being in Grant park getting ready with 40,000+ runners and no one else was great and made you feel really special to be there. there was not one spot in 26.2 miles devoid of crowds cheering. i was walking back to my car after and walked into a Jimmy Johns on S michigan and everyone in the restaurant cheered. Need i say more.


Race Tips

some of the bridges are covered with red carpeting because of the grating on the bridge surface...but you still need to be cautious. Be ready...there's a little hill up to Grant Park right at the end of the race .


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

use the parking app that is sent to you in your virtual goodie bag and get a space days before. If you want to be really close, you may have to book it weeks ahead. But i parked on s wabash in a lot about a mile from the start and the walk was helpful to clear my mind and loosen up a bit.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Love the city, food, and crowd support


Race Tips

Enjoy the route. Don't stop moving the legs.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great city/spectator support. I have run it 4 times and my wife has run it three times and two of my kids have run this. So it is a family challenge!


Race Tips

My only complaint is that the start seems congested so get to the chutes early.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

The start of the marathon is awesome. Very well organized corals and a it begins on a wide highway. No slowing down. Course is wonderful. Running between skyscrapers in downtown Chicago is wonderful. Only downside and it is only because of the many runners, getting out of the finish area is very long.


4 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Well organized. I didn't like all of the men peeing on the sidewalk of corral. Need porta potties in corrals!


Race Tips

Flat course allows for even pacing.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Windy!!!!! Amazing race through the city, the crowds are awesome, the bridges are tough!


Race Tips

Be prepared for a cold start. You cannot warm up at the start line and after leaving the corrals you stand around for 15 - 30 minutes so you start running from a virtual dead stop.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

The walk after you finish is ridiculous, I can't believe they haven't changed this, it's cruel. Be prepared for at least a 2 km walk.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

LIKE:
- Great vibe!
- Corrals well organized for marathon pace.
- Fantastic support throughout the course.
- Great tour of Chicago

Dislike
- Use of bathroom facilities were a bit problematic with the requirement to get into your corral on time.
- The carpet over the bridges were not secured very well. The wind tended to blow up or raise up the carpet as you one would be running over the bridge causing a big tripping problem. I nearly tripped and know of several who did trip and fall because of the carpet not being secure on the bridges.


Race Tips

- Unless you have participated in another MAJOR marathon, be prepared for the number of people to overwhelm you. Although that is also what makes this marathon so much fun - the people!

- Be careful crossing the bridges where carpet as been laid down. It has the potential to get blown by the wind creating a major tripping hazard.

- Be careful of the water stations, Lots of cups thrown everywhere. I remember so many cups thrown across the street that it was actually slippery with cups. I believe that was in China town.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

- There are lots of hotels downtown, although somewhat expensive. Book early - at least 9 months!
- Don't bring a car into the city. Parking is very expensive and roads crowded.
- Taxi cabs are not too expensive for short trips within the city.
- The train is very reasonable and reliable.
- Don't be afraid to take the train too and from the airport (both airports) - it is simple and convenient.
- Try to get to the EXPO on the first day and as early as possible. It is (gets) very crowded.
- There are lots of pace teams. If you are planning to run with a pace team, do your home work at the Expo to know what corral your pace team will be planning to start - it may not be in the corral you were assigned. You may have to figure out how to adapt.
- There was beer available in the finish shoot - more than one was allowed. So good!


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


4 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Too many people to get a PR.


Race Tips

Follow the tangent line. Get up in the first few corrals.


2 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Like: Very well organized, nice running tour of the city, good expo, plenty of water and nutrition on-course.

Didn't like: Wish it had started earlier in the day. Temps were over 60 by the end of the race.


Race Tips

Take the train from O'Hare into the city center. There are many hotels and restaurants within an easy walk of the start/finish area.


4 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great organization from start to finish. Best crowd support of any race I have participated in. Fast and flat course through a variety of neighborhoods. Overall a wonderful experience!


Race Tips

My GPS watch didn't work properly until we got out of the downtown area and away from the tall buildings. My watch said I was running a 10 minute pace (which i knew was wrong) and I was running next to the 8:30 pacer. There is a long walk from the finish line to the common area for meeting friends and family.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

If you can get into one, choose a hotel that is walking distance from the start/finish in Grant Park. There are EL stop close by if you are traveling in from the suburbs.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Best marathon ever ran.


Race Tips

Flat Course.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Excellent organising. Great crowd support and aid stations excellent. Pacers only have little paddles easy to lose sight, Balloons would be much better.


Race Tips

Water comes in cups which isn't ideal, European marathons have bottled water much better.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Public transport is excellent you don't need to stay downtown (very expensive) do a trial run the day before to see how much time you need to get downtown by. You would need to be arriving in Grant park by 06.30 to be on the safe side.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Amazing crowd support!


Race Tips

Your GPS watch will not work properly! If you are aiming for a certain time, I would suggest wearing a pace band.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Flat, fast, great aid stations, sufficient porta-johns, great spectators, nice finish area. Perfect weather in 2016!


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great course, great support, beautiful run.


Race Tips

Watch does not work through the first 5k, people cross in front of you so keep eyes ahead.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Travel Lodge was cheap and close.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

GPS did not work well in the city.


Race Tips

Bring a pace band your GPS may not work well.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

The feel of a big "major" marathon. Well supported by the city and well organized. It can be crowded but you should expect that with 40k+ runners.


Race Tips

Your GPS won't work well the 1st few miles, probably because of the buildings, assume your first few miles will be slower with the crowds.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I was very happy I chose to stay within walking distance of the start/finish. The Hyatt I stayed at was prepared to support runners in the morning by stocking bananas, bagels and liquids in the lobby.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Fantastically well organised. Wasn't prepared fro the cement roads- IT band and toes took a beating.


Race Tips

Keep your eyes on the road! Lots of potholes and uneven cracks.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stayed at Dewitt Place, booked through booking.com. Block from lake running trail, block from Magnificent Mile, 20 minute walk to start finish, has laundry facilities! Very clean and reasonably priced with full kitchen in room.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Organized. Friendly volunteers. Amazing crowd encouragement


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stay downtown close to start line as roads get blocked off


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great flat race, had excellent weather (55 - 65) with some light breezes; city residents really come out to support the runners.


Race Tips

Short climb right before the finish line


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Flat, good crowd support, well organized, fun!


Race Tips

Be aware of the stretch of Ashland before China town after Pilsen, it's dead there and pretty boring. Also remember that last hill isn't the finish, the shoot is about 50 meters away, so power up that hill and cruise into the finish.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Get reservations for after the marathon, you won't be able to walk into any place to just get a table.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

it was very well organized and well contained within city area. My family was very easily able to see me three times. We planned ahead of time where they would be and it worked so much better than other marathons. We stayed closed to the grant park area so the start and finish were very convenient.


Race Tips

I WAS SUPER EXCITED TO SEE MY FAMILY AND lost my pace group early. I was way off my pace.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stay close to the park. Take a riverboat cruise the day before to minimize walking and activity.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great course, awesome preparations/arrangements, unbelievable crowd support.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

I just love this marathon. I've completed it twice and it's met my expectations both times. I've completed 7 marathons and just PR'ed at this course. If you are looking to PR or BQ this is the race for you. It's fast and flat but weather can be a mystery (it is Chicago after all). From the time I picked up my bib to the finish line everything went smoothly.


Race Tips

Follow the blue line. It's the shortest distance. Just know that your garmin will not be reliable the first few miles. And don't use the garmin pause feature that screwed me up with my time and pacing.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I stayed at an Airbnb and ubered to the start line (which I probably could have walked to the start line). It's definitely a lot cheaper than staying at one of the downtown hotels.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Excellent big Marathon. Extremely organized. A lot of people in the road. Good refreshing stations. Not too many bands or entertainment during the race.


Race Tips

Perfect for negative split.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

A lot of hotels to choose from.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great run.


Race Tips

Negative split.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

Great crowd support, distractive surroundings, pancake flat course, very organized race


Race Tips

Get to start line early, don't start out to fast, miles 14-20 are a little boring so save energy for these, give it your all at the end.


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2016


Review

It was a great race. Great seeing all of the different communities, and all of the support from the city. The only thing I didn't like was the finish, spectators couldn't see the finish.


Race Tips

I took my own water bottle, it made it easier getting through the water stations. Get to your starting corral early.


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

2016


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2015


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2015


Review

Perfect weather, beautiful course through the city, wonderful crowd and cheering, nice mostly flat/easy!


Race Tips

Try to start out slower and save speed/energy for middle or end of race. My mantra is, "the race doesn't start until mile 20!"


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2015


Review

Start and finish of this race is horrible. You will be completely isolate from friends and family. Then after you run your 26.2 miles you'll need to walk an another 300 yards to see friends and family. The best part about running a marathon is finishing and the Chicago marathon completely takes sharing that experience away from you. It was explained that this was for security reasons.


Race Tips

Read every detail possible about the race before race day due to communication on race day being very poor and unorganized.


2 / 5 Stars


  Great first marathon

By about 2014


Review

My first marathon (2014) at age 62! Awesome experience. Great city. Stayed at the Hilton across from Grant Park start/finish so couldn't have been more convenient. Food was great everywhere in Chicago. Got to run again next year (2015) and even more fun as well as faster time!


Race Tips

For newbies 1) Get to the start without injury 2)Civer the distance 3) Have fun 4) Finish strong enough to want run it again


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Best hotel- Chicago Hilton
Best restaurant- breakfast- Eleven City Diner
Dinner- Gioco's


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2013


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2013


5 / 5 Stars


  

By about 2012


Review

Great crowd support, start and finish area was great. Great course to PR on, less people in the way if your in a front corral!


Race Tips

Hang by a Nike pace group and hold on!


Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

as with any big city race, the best and worst thing are ALL the people. Get to race early before streets shut down. Or take public transportation. There will be a MILLION people downtown! No Kidding!


5 / 5 Stars





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