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 32361 18690 13671
    2004 33082 19105 13977
    2005 32868 18602 14266
    2006 33633 18910 14723
    2007 25543 15348 10186
    2008 31343 17678 13665
    2009 33703 19077 14626
    2010 36088 19946 16142
    2011 35775 20284 15471
    2012 37475 20681 16794
    2013 39122 21595 17527
    2014 40659 22242 18417
    2015 37459 20207 17252
    2016 39313 22032 17281

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: 1:41:10 (Tatyana McFadden, USA, 2015)

Prize purse

US$753,000 (US$100,000 to male & female champions)

Wheelchair prize purse: US$31,000 (US$10,000 for male & female champions)

Largest field

40,659 finishers (2014)

Estimated spectators

1.7 million

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