Chicago Marathon makes up one of the six events that form the Abbott World Majors series. Run all six and you enter the world majors club and receive a medal and pin in recognition.

Chicago Marathon 2022 was held in early October. Being Autumn, weather conditions can be a little unstable. The days prior saw people rugged up in coats, beanies and carrying umbrellas when required. Race day presented mild conditions, clear sky and a hot sun. Known as the “Windy City”, I was personally thankful that it wasn’t blowing a gale!

The course conveniently starts and finishes from Grant Park which is near Millennium park and within easy walking distance
from most hotels.

Wave 1 starts at 07:30 and consists of 5 corrals then wave 2 and wave 3. The last wave starting at 08:30. The course is 1 42.2km loop made up of some very very very long straights. It’s a flat course with only a couple of small rises and athletes have a total of six hours and thirty minutes to complete the course.

The nature of the course sees athletes run through and out of the city, then back in, then back out before back in to finish. This of course can disrupt GPS readings on watches due to high rises and many steel bridges. So my advice? Run to feel. Don’t rely on your watch or it could result in running too fast and hard at the start and blowing up in the back end. A large portion of this course is on concrete. So much so, that the asphalt we did run on provided welcome respite. So perhaps something for some to consider with regards to footwear etc.

When the Chicago marathon first began in 1977 the entry cost was USD 10, it is now USD 240. Marathon culture has evolved though and the winners each received USD 100,000. My husband has informed me that I should have won it! No problems I shall work on that! The entry gets you a finishers medal and a T-shirt. Though it isn’t a finishers T-shirt. Items with the word “finisher” on it need to be purchased. Don’t get me started on that!

There is a 5km event the day before which can be treated as a shake out trot for marathon runners, or is a great way for family and friends to get involved.

Getting an entry into this event, like all majors can be challenging. You can qualify with a good for age time, get drawn from the ballot, run for a charity or go through one of the many growing travelling companies that specialise in participating in sporting events like these.

There is an expo which is out of the CBD at McCormick Place exhibition hall. Three train stops away at a cost of USD2 gets you there quick. Security checks to enter and it’s then a pretty standard expo. Merchandise, other stalls all selling various running related items. Free bars and drinks and all manner of things are offered throughout also. The expos at these large events are pretty exceptional.

The events of late have changed in how they do things in terms of freebies. They promote recycling and not taking stuff if you don’t need it. This event gave athletes the option to fill their own finishers bag. Select what fruit, bars etc. you want and they give you a bag at the end. I didn’t want any of it. So bypassed it all.

It was a one way system at the end which ended at the family reuniting section. Where families stand under the letter of their surname. So pretty easy to find one another.

This year, Chicago 2022 earned me my sixth and final Abbott World Majors Star.

Event profile: Bonnie Davies

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