Tips to tackle the Chicago Marathon Expo

Nike sold the official race merchandise at the expo.

Today’s the day! The expo is open and ready for you to attend. You must attend the expo to pick up your packet. You will not be able to have a friend pick up your packet for you. You will need your mobile confirmation ticket with the QR code. Mine was emailed to me on September 27th. I took a screen shot of mine and have it stored in my favorites folder on my phone. You may want to do this, as cell service can be spotty in and around McCormick Place.

If you do not have your mobile confirmation ticket, you can find a help desk to provide you with your QR code. You will need your ID to do this.

McCormick Place, Lakeside Center
2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive*
Chicago, IL 60616

Thursday, October 5
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, October 6
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 7
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Times are subject to change.

*For driving and parking, use the above address for the best access to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo. If you are driving, follow the signs for Parking Lot C for the most convenient parking location. The publicly listed mailing address for McCormick Place is 2301 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

Here are some of my tips to make the most out of your expo experience.

1 – Validate parking. This is probably the most helpful tip I can give to you. When you park, take your parking ticket inside the expo with you. There will be a booth, likely outside of the actual expo, where they will validate your parking ticket and reduce the fee you pay for parking at McCormick Place. You must do this at the expo, before you pay, or you will not be granted the reduced price. This is not automatic.

2 – Try on your shirt. You will be given your bib and be directed to an area to get your race shirt. Try it on right away. If it does not fit, there will be an area where you can exchange sizes. If you leave the expo and then discover it does not fit, you will likely have to return to the expo to get the correct size. I do not believe this is something you can do online.

3 – Nike Pace Tattoo. The Nike Pacer booth will have pace tattoos that you can adhere to your forearm on race morning. With 45,000 runners and 1 million spectators, your GPS will likely not work accurately. The pace tattoos are divided by 5 minute increments and have the miles broken down by time. There will be time clocks at each mile marker spot on the course so you can compare where you are at and where you should be to stay on pace.

4 – Chicago marathon merch. There will be a small booth toward the front of the expo with Chicago Marathon branded merchandise produced by the race itself. It will be small and you can easily miss it. This booth has their annual Christmas ornament and pint glass. Both are items you may want to pick up as keepsakes. They are inexpensive and many runners collect these each year.

5 – Limited edition Chicago marathon gear from your favorite vendors. Nearly every fitness vendor will be at the marathon expo with a line of limited edition 2023 Chicago Marathon merchandise. They will make small batches and the items will only be available at the expo. Take a quick peek through to see the unique designs each brand has selected to represent the marathon. Nike will of course, be front and center. If you haven’t seen their line yet, check out my article here.

And, most importantly, do not buy anything new with the intent to wear it on race day. No new shoes. No new sports bra. No new tanks. You get the drift. Buy it and save it for Monday. Have fun and I hope to see you there!


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