Picture Perfect Sunday Ahead for Chicago Marathon

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 10, 2013 3:20PM

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Photo by Benjy Lipsman

The annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon takes place this Sunday, with 45,000 runners signed up to hit the pavement for a 26.2 mile jog through our fine city. The race begins in Grant Park, with the wheelchair participant rolling out at 7:15 a.m. and the runners starting at 7:30 a.m. Weather should be nice for marathon participants and spectators alike, with a forecast high on Sunday of 67 degrees under partly cloudy skies.

Similar to most recent years, the marathon course winds through 29 city neighborhoods, giving both locals and those who traveled from far and wide (all 50 states and 129 countries) to run a spectacular overview of the city. Starting north from Grant Park and winding through River North and the Loop, the runner will then head north through the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, before heading back south mostly parallel to the northern route. Passing through Old Town, the course tracks west after re-entering downtown, passing through Greek Town and the West Loop. Snaking southeast, runners pass ethnic neighborhoods Little Italy, Pilsen and Chinatown. After making it to Bridgeport, the runners begin their trek north through the South Loop to the Grant Park finish line.

As is the case every year, about two million spectators will crowd the course from start to finish cheering the runners on. For those who are choosing to play cheerleader, Time Out Chicago has a marathon guide that give tips on locating your friends or family members running, highlights viewing strategies, and some inspiration for motivational signs. Since we're landlocked by the course, we'll take advantage and catch runners heading north through Lincoln Park and south along Clark St.

After the tragic events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last spring, new security measures are in place to keep runners and spectators safe. Additional uniformed and plain clothes police will patrol the course, along with bomb-sniffing dogs. Security cameras will also be monitored. "We're going to have eyes on the ground on just about every foot of the marathon route," Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. "Any packages and suspicious behavior will be addressed." Crews will quickly clean up discarded items along the route. Runners will be required to enter the starting area through specific security check points, and will not be allowed to bring their own bags or backpacks. Each runner is issued a clear drawstring bag with their race packet in which to store their belongings. Bleacher seating along the finish line will be available only to ticketed spectators.

Let's hope for a safe race this year and good luck to all the runners! We'll have race recaps and photos on Monday.