CHICAGO MARATHON COURSE TIPS
Words of wisdom from those with experience in Chi-Town: how to run your best race on the famously flat course that just begs for a PR!
KATE DEPROSPERIS – 1999 (3:48), 2000 (3:34), 2006 (3:04), 2007 (3:10)
It is flat and fast but can get windy depending on the direction of the wind – try to draft off someone if weather is significantly windy.
In the last few miles you can count down the street numbers to keep you engaged and keep your eyes up am aiming for the Willis Tower when going south and then coming back north towards the finish.
Be prepared for the last “hill” at Roosevelt Road – it is in the last half mile and it is pretty significant incline before the final turn to the finish — just keep plugging away and take it strong!
RYAN GIULIANO – 2005 (2:37), 2008 (2:43), 2011 (2:29)
Arrive early! It takes a long time to get through the crowds and you don’t want to miss the start.
Start slower than normal. With the size of the race and flat nature of the course, it is easy to get swept up and start running too quickly.
Don’t forget about the “small” hill in the last mile of the race. If you are going after a certain time, the hill up Roosevelt just before the finish can slow your last mile down quite a bit… so be ready for it!
JACQUI GIULIANO – 2007 (4:21:50), 2008 (3:25:06), 2009 (2:56:58)
The last 400m has an incline (overpass) that then leads to the finish…it’s not horrible, but if you don’t know it’s coming, it hurts!!
It is SUPER easy to go out too hard since there are more spectators in the beginning. Really stay within your pace goal.
Pace leaders are generally really awesome and ON, so if you can, tuck in with the group. It’s always easier to run with someone than solo!
JENNY POORE – 2011 (3:32:53)
Soak up every ounce of that crowd support through mile 20, but don’t let it get to your head. It gets a little lonely from Mile 21-24 so you’ll need to bank a bit of mental energy through the finish.
Anticipate running the bridges over the river toward the middle, as opposed to the sides. The grates are covered with carpets but they don’t reach the entire width of the bridge. Footing can be tricky on the edges!
Runners in Chicago joke about “Mount Roosevelt”, which is basically the only incline on the course and it just so happens to be positioned in mile 26. It’s a very gradual hill but will feel quite painful.
The first Portillo’s hot dog stand, known as “The Dog House”, opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park. Owner and founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a 6′ x 12′ trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needed, he ran 250 feet of garden hose from a nearby building into the trailer. Now this iconic stop is a must-see, since it represents one of Chicago’s favorite foods as well as its resourcefulness and work ethic.