THE FINE PRINT: The following preview is written using the information available at time of publishing. Race organizers reserve the right to change the details, including route, sometimes without warning. That said, the details listed below may change come race-day. I do my best to avoid that whenever possible -- but sometimes it simply isn't possible. Thank you for understanding. Keep R/B/S'ing! -R3KC
2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Pt I: Introduction & Registration Process
It has been quite a while (over two years) since we've done an in-depth such as this. But this one in particular is quite worthy. The Chicago Marathon is consistently listed on seemingly every "bucket-list" list out there for marathons, and running races and events in general.
Why? There are very few races in the world that shut nearly the whole city down. There are very few races in the world that feature a field of nearly 30,000 like-minded crazies (and from over 100 countries, by the way). And there are very few races in the world that gather a spectator contingent of over 1 million (though not tracked every year, in 2015 the estimates were as high as 1.7M), of whom line the entire 26.2 miles of route.
Add on top of that the flat-ness of the route (about 150 feet elevation change over THE WHOLE RACE -- that's less than many KC area 5k's), it's the perfect intro for many making their first foray (such as myself) in to the distance.
And what a great way to tour one of the world's greatest cities! I've often felt the Kansas City Marathon was one of the more representative marathons in the country; it tours nearly every major district in KC. Chicago is quite the same: The 2017 route (same as 2016, btw) tours through 27 (!!!) of Chicago's world-famous neighborhoods (such as Greektown, Little Italy and Chinatown), including 7 parks (like Lincoln Park, Millenium Park, and Grant Park).
The on-course amenities are among the best of any race around, as well. The 2017 route features 20 fully-stocked aid stations, two of which include specialized nutrition (Gatorade chews and gels -- more on this during the Course Preview), and the last few of which features ACTUAL FOOD (well...bananas, but still...). Each aid station also includes, of course, port-o's, water and Gatorade (Endurance formula), medical attention, and non-emergent transportation back to the start line in the (of course, impossible) event that one cannot finish the race.
Nervous? No you're not -- that's excited anticipation! Without further delay, let's get in to it, shall we?
NOTE: The application window for the 2017 event is closed. This section, though either redundant (congratulations!) or irrelevant (there's always next year!), will hopefully serve as a help for future participants. That's why we write it anyways.
First off, memorize this easy-to-memorize website URL: www.chicagomarathon.com. That is the official webpage, full of all the juicy tidbits we are to cover here. And if you've come so far as to want to register for the event, you've already visited.
The Chicago Marathon is not open registration. It is an application-or-qualification entry only. This means that you get registered one of two (well, actually three) ways...
There's also a 3.5 option: Entry deferment. If, for any reason, in 2016 you got in using any of the above three methods, and could not run come race-day, you were allowed to defer your entry to the following year.
If, for 2017, you would like to defer your entry, you have until September 19th @ 5pm to do so. Go here for more information. You can only defer for one year (i.e. cannot defer your 2016 entry one more year to 2018).
To apply, visit the official website and find "2017 Application" along the left side. A link for the application will be linked near the top, under the header & header photo. It is self-explanatory from here. If you are hoping to get in by a qualification standard, you are asked about your most recent official marathon finish time (and are required to provide proof, such as the results URL) as one of the questions.
IF YOU ARE ON THE FENCE about running the marathon, don't apply. You are required to provide credit card information as part of the application. If you get in, you are charged. You don't get the option to "accept" their acceptance. You CAN defer - you do have that as a safe-guard - but don't test your luck: What if you defer to 2018, and then in 2018 you get injured during training? You've wasted your deferment, and you're out $195.
That's it, actually. It's easy (except for the waiting part). In the coming weeks, we'll put out the meat-and-potatoes Part II of our coverage: The Course Preview. We'll include some awesome pix of a few of the 27 neighborhoods you'll be traversing en-route, as well as information about aid stations, the start and the finish, etc etc. We'll also give a quick look in to the race weekend schedule.
It's all coming up pretty soon! In the meantime, see you at the start line.
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