What sport brings together Chicagoans in October? We don’t mean playoff baseball, either.
The Cubs are good right now (sorry, White Sox fans), but they aren’t going to make the playoffs every year. The modern Chicago Marathon, though, will celebrate its 41st consecutive year this October 7.
Read on to learn some key facts about the 2018 Chicago Marathon.
The 2018 Chicago Marathon Application Window is Closed
This is not an event for procrastinators. The application window for 2018 opened in October of 2017, the same month as the race. It closed November 30.
One of the most common ways to get a guaranteed entry is to qualify through time. The time you’ll need varies depending on your age and gender.
You can also get in if you’re running for one of a few dozen approved charities, but it’s not one of those situations where you can just turn in $50 and say, “Sorry, I tried.” You’re expected to raise a minimum of $1,500 for your non-profit.
The Marathon Lottery Odds Aren’t Half-Bad
If none of the guaranteed methods work for you, you can enter your name in the drawing. But the Chicago marathon lottery odds must be really low, right?
Actually, no. In 2015, Runner’s World magazine reported that around 53% of lottery entrants snagged a spot. Generally speaking, you have much better odds in Chicago than if you tried to get into the New York Marathon via lottery. In 2014, a mere 18% of lottery entrants got a chance to run in NYC.
In other encouraging news, nearly two-thirds of the field for 2015 was accepted through the lottery.
It’s the Fourth-Largest Race in the World
Once you add up the lottery winners and guaranteed entrants, how many runners are in the Chicago Marathon? The maximum is 45,000, although the amount varies a little from year to year.
As of 2015, it ranked as the fourth-biggest marathon in terms of finishers. Only marathons in New York, Paris, and London can claim more.
There’s no official word on how many of these athletes use an ice bath to recover after the race, but we’re guessing the ice machines at local hotels get a lot of usages.
There’s a Course Time Limit
The Chicago Marathon course has a reputation for being flat as well as fast, but that doesn’t mean you should dilly-dally. The course time limit is 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Can you finish outside that time limit? You can, but your Chicago marathon time won’t be recorded, which means you won’t be listed as an official race finisher.
Runners Guzzle a Special Energy Drink
Runners shouldn’t stop at an aid station and ask, “What flavor energy drinks do you have?” For 2018, the only available flavor is Lemon-Lime Gatorade in a special “endurance formula.” That means more potassium and sodium than regular Gatorade.
If you’re craving variety, some aid stations will have energy chews and gels available in flavors like orange, blackberry, and vanilla. Aid stations near the end will also have banana-flavored bananas.
Meet Your Running Goals
The 2018 Chicago Marathon is set to be one of the most exciting days of the year for runners of all skill levels.
Don’t let the elite athletes competing intimidate you. Running is an inclusive sport that welcomes anyone who wants to lace up their shoes and pound the pavement.
Whether you’re training for a 5K or a marathon, check out our blog for tips and motivation.