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MICHAEL BILANDIC, AND THE LEADERSHIP OF LEE FLAHERTY, THIS FOUNDING GROUP REALIZED THEIR VISION ON SEPTEMBER 25 1977, HOSTING 4,200 LOCAL PARTICIPANTS IN THE FIRST CHICAGO MARATHON

In 1976 a small band of running enthusiasts met at the Metropolitan YMCA on LaSalle Street to plan a marathon in Chicago. Backed by the athletic enthusiasm of the new Chicago Mayor, Michael Bilandic, and the leadership of Lee Flaherty, this founding group realized their vision on September 25 1977, hosting 4,200 local participants in the first Chicago Marathon. It has since expanded to 45,000 registered runners and an estimated 1.7 million on-course spectators.

The flat course begins and ends in Chicago’s historic Grant Park, sweeping through 29 diverse and colorful neighborhoods including Lakeview, Greektown, Little Italy, Pilsen, Chinatown, and Bronzeville. The loop course and abundance of public transport options enable friends and family to cheer their runners on at many locations along the course.

Runners outside the Chicago Theatre

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a long history of hosting the world's fastest runners and has been the site of two men's world records (by Steve Jones who ran 2:08:05 in 1984, and by Khalid Khannouchi who clocked 2:05:42 in 1999) and two women's world records (in 2001 when Catherine Ndereba ran 2:18:47, and in 2002 when Paula Radcliffe clocked 2:17:18).

Inaugural running

1977

Recent participation

Year Finishers Male Female
2003 32,361 18,690 13,671
2004 33,082 19,105 13,977
2005 32,868 18,602 14,266
2006 33,633 18,910 14,723
2007 25,543 15,348 10,186
2008 31,343 17,678 13,665
2009 33,703 19,077 14,626
2010 36,088 19,946 16,142
2011 35,775 20,284 15,471
2012 37,475 20,681 16,794
2013 39,122 21,595 17,527
2014 40,659 22,242 18,417
2015 37,459 20,207 17,252
2016 39,313 22,032 17,281
2017 44,341 22,842 21,499

Course records

Men 2:03:45 (Dennis Kimetto, KEN, 2013)
Women 2:17:18 (Paula Radcliffe, GBR, 2002)
Men's Wheelchair 1:26:56 (Heinz Frei, SUI, 2010)
Women's Wheelchair Women: 1:39:15 (Tatyana McFadden, USA, 2017)

Prize purse

US$803,500 (Open field: $754,250)

Wheelchair prize purse: US$49,250 (US$15000 for male & female champions)

Largest field

44,610 finishers (2018)

Estimated spectators

1.7 million

Highlights