Chicago Marathon Cheer Zones: Where to Watch

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Race day is less than 2 weeks away and it’s time to start planning where you will be watching your runner fly past! There are so many options, as the full course is spectator-friendly, but here are a few of our favorites!

KILOMETER 8

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Cheer Zone – 8K

Cheer on runners as they shamROCK through the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Cheer Zone located in Lincoln Park at the 8K mark. The Shamrock Shuffle is the kickoff to the Chicago running season and is a continuation of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Runners enjoy bagpipes and green colors galore as they breeze through this fun cheer zone, still feeling fresh at the start of the race. Visit the BOA website to learn more.

MILE 8

Northalsted, formerly known as Boystown, will not disappoint runners who are always treated to a high energy and smile inducing drag show right on the street! Last year, the singers were belting Britney’s “Hit me Baby One More Time” as I passed through and I couldn’t help but sing along. This strip of the course is one big party to cheer at.

MILE 13

Bank of America Chicago 13.1 Cheer Zone – Mile 13.1

Reimagine the run and celebrate Chicago’s West Side at the halfway point of the course! The second Bank of America Chicago 13.1 will take place on June 4, 2023, running through the historic parks, boulevards and vibrant culture of Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Douglass Park. Visit the BOA website to learn more.

MILE 14

Greektown Chicago hosts a special cheer event for the 2022 Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the corner of Gladys and Halsted Streets. The marathon passes through Greektown twice, at Miles 14 and 17, giving viewers two chances to support their favorite runners.

Celebrate the ancient Greek origins of the marathon at Greektown’s event, which includes a sign-making station, complimentary coffee and Greek pastries, and a DJ playing Greek and American music all day to keep the energy flowing. Marathon spectators are encouraged to grab a bite to eat in Greektown during or after the event at one of the neighborhood’s popular restaurants.

Stay up to date on the Greektown Chicago marathon event by visiting GreektownChicago.org.

MILE 15

Charity Block Party! Thousands of Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants run and fundraise on behalf of important local, national and global causes. To celebrate the impact these participants make, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon hosts a Charity Block Party near Mile 15. Spectators, family and friends can cheer on their charity runners at the Charity Block Party, located at Adams Street and Loomis Street near Whitney Young High School. Learn more at the BOA website here.

MILE 17 

The Mercy Mile Cheer Zone is located at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, corner of Jackson and Racine, on Mile 17 of the course and will be hopping from 9am to 1pm. This is one of the only cheer zones to offer family activities for the kids including a bounce house and face painter!

The FREE, family-friendly cheer event is a great place to watch the marathon and features:

  • 25-foot rock climbing wall
  • Superhero bounce house
  • Carnival games
  • Music and live DJ
  • Air brush tattoo artist
  • Face painter
  • Caricaturist
  • Balloon artist

Learn more at: MercyHome.org/Mercy-Mile.

MILE 17.5

Join UIC to cheer on runners at the Chicago Marathon mile 17.5 (Student Center East). You can help make signs, cheer on runners, etc. Runners can use all the energy possible!!

A light breakfast will be served from 8:30-9:30 a.m. First come, first serve for our volunteers.

MILE 19

As runners enter the Pilsen neighborhood, they will be greeted with the best smells of the day, and festive Mexican music for the entire mile. I have found so much energy by looking at the smiles and hearing the cheers of this cheering section. This high energy couldn’t come at a better time, as mile 19 is a tough place to be.

MILE 21.5

Right before heading back downtown, runners get to enjoy Chinatown, including the massive, colorful dragon that dances among the crowds. This cheering section works extra hard to give runners some much needed energy to make it to the finish.

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.

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