Chicago Marathon – Course, Elevation and Race Info

Chicago Marathon is one of the largest in the world, drawing 47,000 runners to the Windy City in 2023.

Renowned for its flat course, Chicago Marathon is a favorite among runners aiming for personal bests or BQ. The absence of significant hills along the 26.2-mile route, starting and concluding in Grant Park, sets a perfect stage for runners to push their limits without daunting elevation challenges.

In 2023, a new world record was set by Kelvin Kiptum: 2:00:35! What’s more amazing is that the 23-year-old Kenyan did it in only his third marathon ever. He has a legitimate shot at breaking the 2-hour mark for the first time in human history.

Chicago Marathon at a Glance

  • Upcoming Race: October 13, 2024
  • 2023 Attendance: 47,000
  • 2023 First Place (Men’s): 02:00:35
  • 2023 First Place (Women’s): 02:13:44
  • Official Website: Chicago Marathon

(A) Chicago Marathon Course Map and Route Info

Scroll to zoom in and out. Click and hold to move around. Click on icons to see more race info such as gel stations and notable sights along the route. Water and aid stations are not marked on the map because there are plenty.

(B) Chicago Marathon Elevation Profile Interactive Chart

(Last Updated: 11/23/2023)

(C) Chicago Marathon Expo

Chicago Marathon Expo is held in the McCormick Place, on S. Martin Luther King Drive, for three days prior to the race. The Expo is open to the general public and is free of charge. This is also the place for runners to pick up their Participant Packet which includes:

  • Bib and safety pins
  • MYLAPS BibTag timing device
  • Gear check tag
  • Nike running shirt
  • Participant bag

Runners age 21 and over will also receive a tag for a free beer after the race. No one will be allowed to pick up race packets for others.

(D) Hotels and Lodging

The Hilton Chicago is the official headquarters hotel of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Ideally located on Michigan Avenue, it’s close to the start and finish line of the race.

There are many other options, from luxury to affordable, in the downtown area. Some are very close to the race, including: Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theatre District, Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown South Loop, etc.

(E) Transportation

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers an economical and convenient way to get around Chicago.

You’re encouraged to purchase CTA fares in advance at, in order to avoid waiting in long lines at the airport or a CTA station.

You can buy a one-ride or one-day Ventra ticket, but the best value is a Ventra Card, which is reloadable and offers options like 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day passes.

The Ventra Mobile App is also very useful if you’re staying for a few days.

Chicago Marathon Transportation Ventra

(F) Weather

The weather in Chicago is typically cool and crisp in October, although it does vary from year to year.

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