Race weekend for any weekend can be overwhelming; from picking up your packet to getting to the race site and finding the start line, a lot of planning and thought goes into it. Because the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the world’s third largest marathon, stress levels are often escalated. Use this guide to answer all of your questions and make race weekend as fun and hassle-free as possible.

  1. Abbott Health and Fitness Expo: The first box to check for many runners on race weekend is picking up their packet. For this event, every runner has to attend the Abbott Health and Fitness Expo themselves and pick it up in person. There is no packet mailing, or race-day pick-up. A few weeks before the race, you’ll receive a packet pick-up ticket in the mail and via email. DO NOT forget this, or you might get delayed, starting the weekend off with anxiety.

Abbott Health and Fitness Expo info:

McCormick Place, North Building, Hall B
Friday, October 11: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 12: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  1. Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K:Whether you registered or not (unfortunately the event sold out in early September), the Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K is the perfect way to get in race spirit. For those running, it’s a perfect shake-out run around the Loop. For those not, it’s definitely worth heading out to the course and seeing the crowds of people that travel from all over the world — over 100 countries, in fact — to be there. Plus, it can help give you a lay of the land for Sunday if you’re unfamiliar with the area.

Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K info:

Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington Street)
Race start: 7:30 a.m.
Learn more at chicago5k.com

  1. Corrals:Earlier this summer, you were informed of the corral you will be starting in for the race. The first letter on your bib also marks this. This is extremely important, because not only does it tell you where in Grant Park to meet, but it determines your race start time and where your gear check tent is located. Each corral also has specific finish times the Nike Pace Team will run at (be sure to register at the expo to join them). Clearly, corrals are important!

Corral start times:

5:30 a.m. – Start corrals open
7:20 a.m. – Wave 1 (Red) start corrals close
7:30 a.m. – Wave 1 Start
7:45 a.m. – Wave 2 (Blue) start corrals close
8:00 a.m. – Wave 2 Start
8:10 a.m. – Wave 3 (Orange) start corrals close
8:35 a.m. – Wave 3 Start

  1. Hydration: Throughout the course, there are 20 aid stations approximately every one to two miles. Each aid station offers water and the lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance formula, and several have energy chews and gels. For those who want to bring their own fluids, please note that hydration backpacks are not allowed into Grant Park! You can bring a hydration belt and hand-held water bottles, but it’s advised to bring those in empty and fill them up with your preferred powder or available hydration once in your corral, or security may ask you to dump it out.

Each aid station consists of the following amenities in this order:

  • Medical Tent with access to a Runner Transport vehicle*
  • Toilet facilities
  • Gatorade Endurance Formula (lemon-lime flavor)
  • Public address announcer
  • Water
  1. Post-Race: You did it! You crossed the finish line and it’s time to celebrate. While Runner Refresh may seem never-ending when you’re walking through, take advantage of all that’s offered, including the commemorative Goose Island Finisher Beer can! If you’re trying to find friends and family, inform them before the race to meet you at Runner Reunite; alphabetical signs (A-Z) will be staged on Columbus Drive to facilitate meeting locations by name.(Pro-tip: tell them to download the app so they can track you and know exactly when you finish). Once you meet up, head over to the post-race party to enjoy more beer and food.

Biofreeze 27th Mile Post-Race Party timeline

9:30 a.m. – Grant Park & Post-Race Party opens to spectators
9:45 a.m. – Beer serving starts
11:30-1:00 p.m. – Highest-traffic time in Post-Race Party
3:15 p.m. – Last call for beer
3:30 p.m. – Beer ticket sales, many participants exit
3:45 p.m. – Beer serving stops
4:00 p.m. – Post-Race Party closes

Still have questions about the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon? Visit its website at www.chicagomarathon.com.

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