Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Race Guide: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

There are five other big-city races that join London to make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) series.

Five of the world’s biggest and best 26.2-mile races – Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City – came together to form the World Marathon Majors in 2006. Since then the series of races has expanded to include the Tokyo Marathon, which joined the club in 2013.

As well as focusing on the elite end of the sport – by awarding a total of US$1 million to the top male and female marathon runners at the end of each series – the Abbott World Marathon Majors also encourages everyday runners to complete all six races in the series and ‘Reach for the Stars’ by becoming a Six Star Finisher. The Six Star Finisher Medal has become one of the most prized possessions in the world of marathon running.

So, if you have yet to run any of the other five races in the Abbott World Marathon Majors family, now could be the time to try...


The Bank of America Chicago Marathon takes place in the ‘windy city’ every October. The ballot for the 2019 race closed in November 2018, but if you’d like to run in 2020, here’s what you need to know.

What time does it start?
Three waves from 07:30

Where does it start?
Grant Park

How many people finished the race in 2018?

When was the inaugural race?
1977 – 4,200 people registered for Chicago’s inaugural marathon, and only about 2,100 actually finished

What’s the minimum age for entry?
16 on the day of the race

What’s the course record?
2:03:45, set by Dennis Kimetto (KEN) in 2013

What drinks will be handed out on course?
Water and Gatorade

What is the cut-off time?
6:30 hours

How much is entry?
US runners: $205; overseas runners: $230

How hot is Chicago in October?
The average temperature is 17°C

How does the entry system work?
Ballot entry opens at the end of October and closes at the end of November. Ballot entry is free and results are announced in December. You can earn a guaranteed entry if you’ve run the race five times in the previous 10 years, or have run a Good for Age time in the last 18 months. You need to apply for this during November – the same time as the ballot is open. Charity places are also an option, with most asking for a minimum fundraising target of $1,250.

What was the largest ever field?
44,610 finishers in 2018

How many people will watch the race?
An estimated 1.7 million

How much prize money do the winners receive?

  • First male and female finishers: $100,000
  • First male and female wheelchair racers: $15,000
  • 13,000: the total number of volunteers
  • 165: the number of charity partners
  • $338 million was generated by last year’s marathon