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Keep On Running: Chicagoist's 2012 Chicago Marathon Preview

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 4, 2012 7:40PM

Photo by chaz mo

This Sunday, 45,000 runners will take to the streets in the annual running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. With close to 2 million spectators expected, the 26.2 mile course (PDF) will wind its way through 29 of the city's neighborhoods. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park, first heading North through the Loop, River North, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, then west past Greektown, the United Center and UIC before heading South through Chinatown, Bridgeport and the South Loop.

Sunday's forecast calls for a high of just 53 degrees so it'll be one of the chillier races in recent years, especially during the race's early hours. While runners may prefer the cool, it might make for a long day as people line the route to cheer. For those who do plan to watch, there is a handy spectators' guide(PDF) available, with information about the course, timing of runners at various mile markers, and transit options for hoping around the route. Whether watching in person or simply keeping tabs from home, you can track runners via text message, Facebook and Twitter with their bib numbers.

Some of the world's top marathoners will be in the field for Sunday's race. Three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova will vie for her fourth straight victory, something that's never before been done. Last year's male winner Moses Mosop did not enter this year. Some of the elite men's field include Wesley Korir, the reigning Boston Marathon champion looking for his first Chicago win, and U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein. Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede returns to Chicago in hopes of finally break through after coming up short against Sammy Wanjiru in 2010.

Some of our own will also be running this Sunday. Good luck to Marcus Gilmer and Kim Bellware!

Also, don't forget to share your marathon pics in our Flickr group. We'll post some of the best ones next week.