Chicago running icons past and present have confirmed they will return to the city as it prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of what is now one of the most popular marathons in the world. The race, scheduled for Sunday 8 October, will welcome 45,000 runners to the Windy City, with organisers working behind the scenes to ensure a memorable event in a landmark year.
Previous champions Steve Jones, Khalid Khannouchi, Catherine Ndereba, Paula Radcliffe and Deena Kastor will return as race ambassadors for this year’s marathon. Jones became the first ever runner to break a world record at the race with a stunning 2:08:05 in 1984, while Khannouchi has tasted success at the event on four occasions, including a WR of 2:05:42 in 1999.
Confirmed elites for October include a strong field of American competitors, headed by two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and American debut record holder Jordan Hasay. With Rupp and Hasay’s recent form there is hope that the Americans could both place within the top three, a feat that hasn’t occurred since 1996.
In store for the 45,000 strong runners will be a fast course that offers a whirlwind tour of Chicago, weaving through the 29 neighbourhoods of the city. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park, first heading north through the Loop, River North, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, then west past Greektown, the United Center and UIC before heading south through Chinatown, Bridgeport and the South Loop.
Over the years, Chicago has become a 'must-do' for UK-based marathoners on a never to forget running holiday. The city offers a host of sightseeing options, including Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), the Ferris Wheel and Navy Pier.
Chicago has the big-town feel of New York but with a fraction of the tourists, making for a more relaxed vibe. Some excellent packages for 2018 are available from Sports Tours International.