CHICAGO — After months of training in warm summer weather, thousands of runners will descend on the Windy City to complete one of the world’s most prestigious road races.
The 2023 Chicago Marathon will go off on Sunday, Oct. 8 on Columbus Drive, making its way to the north, west, and south sides of the city in a 26.2-mile loop that will test every participant’s endurance.
So what can you expect this weekend and race day?
Here are a few things to know ahead of this year’s Chicago Marathon.
How many people are taking part in the race?
According to Chicago Marathon organizers, there are over 47,000 participants in this year’s marathon. That means the 2023 event could break the event record for finishers, which stands at 45,956 in the 2019 race.
In 2022, 39,420 runners crossed the finish line for the Chicago Marathon.
Along with the shot at the record number, the race will also have its one-millionth finisher on Sunday.
What is the schedule for race weekend?
The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, where participants pick up their bibs and other gear for the race, will take place at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center.
- Thursday – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Friday – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Saturday – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
On Saturday, the Abbott Chicago 5 K will be run at 7:30 a.m., with the start at Columbus Drive and the finish at Wacker Drive and Jackson Blvd.
On Sunday, here are the start times for the different waves of the race.
- Men’s Wheelchair – 7:20 a.m.
- Women’s Wheelchair – 7:21 a.m.
- Handcycle – 7:23 a.m.
- Wave 1 – 7:30 a.m.
- Wave 2 – 8 a.m.
- Wave 3 – 8:35 a.m.
What is the course route?
Once again, the Chicago Marathon course will make its way through 29 neighborhoods heading as far north as Sheridan Road, to the west side to Damen Avenue, back south through Chinatown to 35th Street, and then back up Michigan Avenue to the memorable “Mount Roosevelt” before finishing on Columbus Drive.
It’s known to runners locally and around the world for being a flat and fast course, ideal for those looking to qualify for other events, including the Boston Marathon.
What streets are closing because of the race?
With the event utilizing a number of roads in neighborhoods across the City of Chicago, there will be a hefty amount of street closures on the Sunday of the event.
No parking zones on streets used for the marathon will be enforced beginning on Sunday at 1 a.m.
Closed Now: Balbo Drive from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive. These will remain closed through Wednesday, Oct. 11 through 6 a.m.
On race day:
- Loop – All streets are expected to be open to traffic by 9 a.m. on race day.
- DuSable Lake Shore Drive – Remains open, no interruptions for the race
- Dan Ryan, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Stevenson Expressways – Remains open
- Inner Lake Short Drive – North/South lanes open from Diversey Parkway to Belmont Avenue with DuSable Lake Shore Drive access remaining open at Belmont Avenue.
There are a number of individual street closures along the route that start at 7 a.m. with reopenings starting as early as 10 a.m. in the first few miles with the last being on Columbus Drive at 6 p.m. They’ll be reopened by Chicago police after the final runners pass through
See all of those closures here.
Where can spectators go to cheer on the runners?
There will be an estimated 1.7 million spectators on the 26.2-mile route with a number of places to cheer on those running on Sunday morning as they go through the many neighborhoods.
Bank of America has two official “Cheer Zones” located at Mile 13 on North Wacker Drive and at Mile 26 at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.
Family and friends are not allowed at the start-finish line in Grant Park and bleacher seats near the finish line have already sold out.
The designated “Runner Reunite” will take place at Butler Field inside the “’27th Mile Post-Race Party.”
What is the economic impact of the race?
According to a study commissioned by the Chicago Marathon, it’s significant.
Conducted by the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Lab, it found that the 2022 race contributed a record $386 million to the city’s economy. It was found that the average visitor spent $664 when in town for the Chicago Marathon on accommodations, shopping, food, transportation, and entertainment.