became a landmark year for running in Chicago when over 4,200 runners turned out for the first Mayor Daley Marathon, making
it the largest big city marathon in the world.
soon gripped the city with several other shorter races organized for the first time -- including the first Chicago Distance Classic (now the Rock 'n Roll Marathon) featuring an incredible 5,000 runners.
Adding to the excitement, Chicago aimed to become "the running capital of the world'' by turning five miles of an old horseback riding path along the lakefront into jogging paths. Due to overwhelming popularity, it ultimately grew to 18 miles around giving Chicagoans a leg up on keeping fit and marathon-ready.
The Chicago Marathon is a thrill for spectators from a bright start to the grueling finish.
Chicago Marathon best viewing
To view runners closest to the start of the race, go to Grand Avenue, between Columbus Drive and State Street, near Mile 1, or anywhere along State Street, between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. To view runners closest to the finish of the race, go to the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road..
DID YOU KNOW? Chicago Marathon fun facts
Ready, set, hydrate.
• From its early beginnings with 4,200 runners, the Chicago Marathon regularly plays host to more than 40,000 runners from all 50 US states and 140 countries from around the world.
• Before and during the race, approximately 78,000 gallons of water and almost as many bananas are provided to Chicago Marathon runners with an additional 40,000 ice bags waiting at the finish line.
• The 1979 Chicago Marathon had its share of controversy when Nancy Reid and Donna Simmons illegally “dropped in” to place first and second for the women, but were disqualified when it was proven that they did not run the entire race. This gave the victory to 15-year-old Laura Michalek of Berwyn, IL, the youngest winner in Chicago Marathon history.
• Thrills and chills met runners at the 1993 Chicago Marathon which took place on Halloween, the latest date the race has ever been run. Instead of dehydration, some dropped out due to hypothermia as wet snow pelted runners in 35 F degree weather accompanied by 12 degree wind chills off the lakefront.
• 2006 saw one of the most dramatic finishes in Chicago Marathon history when Robert K. Cheruiyot from Kenya slipped and fell just before the finish. His body hit the ground with such impact that it threw him forward over the finish line, just 5 seconds ahead of runner-up Daniel Njenga. Suffering a concussion, Cheruiyot celebrated his victory from a hospital bed. He was released a couple of days later.
More about the Chicago Marathon around the Web:
Meanwhile, check out related maps and pictures, recent stats and running times plus lots more on this year's Windy City run ....
Marathon - Check out the official site with info on this year's race, entry & registration details, parking and transportation, Chicago travel info, tourist attractions and accommodations, how to become a member of the volunteer crew, spectator guide and course map, race day photos & video, marathon weekend events, and complete results.
Chicago Transit Authority - Here's a guide from the CTA on how to get to the start of the race on the big day, as well as prime viewing areas.
Chicago Area Runners Association - This great resource for prospective Chicago Marathon runners features the latest news, local race calendar, membership info, maps, best places to train, interactive pace calculators, fun runs, recent results, and related message boards.