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Countdown to the big race, October 13, 2019

Athletes with Disabilities Program

The Athletes with Disabilities Program is intended for athletes with a permanent disability that aligns with the eligible impairment types as defined by World Para Athletics.  The impairment must be significant enough to have an impact on the sport of running.

To be eligible for participation in the Athletes with Disabilities Program, athletes must:

  • Possess a permanent physical or intellectual/adaptive disability that aligns with the eligible impairment types defined by World Para Athletics.
  • Be capable of completing the full distance, start line to finish line, within the event time requirement of 6 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Be 16 years of age or older on event day. Registrants under 18 years of age must have the applicant wavier signed by a parent or legal guardian.

There are 10 impairment types recognized by World Para Athletics: eight physical impairments as well as visual impairment and intellectual impairment:

Impaired muscle power
The muscles in the limbs or trunk are completely or partially paralyzed as a consequence of conditions such as spinal cord injury, polio or spina bifida.

Impaired passive range of movement
Range of movement in one or more joints is permanently reduced due to trauma, illness or congenital deficiency (e.g. conditions such as arthrogryposis or joint contracture resulting from trauma).

Limb deficiency
A total or partial absence of bones or joints, from birth, as a consequence of trauma (e.g. traumatic amputation) or illness (e.g. amputation due to cancer).

Ataxia
Lack of muscle coordination due to problems with the parts of the central nervous system that control movement and balance, typical of conditions such as traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy.

Athetosis
Repetitive and more or less continual involuntary movements caused by fluctuating muscle tone arising from problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Hypertonia
Abnormal increase in muscle tension with reduced ability of muscles to stretch, and joint stiffness, slowness of movement and poor postural adaptation and balance, due to problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Short stature
Standing height and limb length are reduced due to conditions such as achondroplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta. 

Leg length difference
Minimum of 7cm leg length difference due to trauma, illness or congenital conditions.

Visual impairment
Vision is impacted by either an impairment of the eye structure, optical nerve/pathways or the part of the brain controlling vision (visual cortex).

Intellectual impairment
Limited intellectual functions and adaptive behavior which must be diagnosed before the age of 18.


Application procedures for the Athletes with Disabilities Program (AWD)

Athletes with disabilities may apply for a guaranteed entry or through the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes must indicate the presence of a disability that qualifies them for participation in one of the AWD categories on the registration application.

Mobility impaired athletes:  athletes with a permanent physical or intellectual disability may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify.  Mobility impaired athletes that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. 

Visually impaired athletes:  athletes with a permanent impairment of the eye structure, optical nerves, optical pathways or the visual cortex may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify.  Visually impaired athletes that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing.

Push-rim wheelchairs: athletes with permanent disabilities intending to utilize a push-rim wheelchair are eligible to apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify.  Push-rim wheelchair athletes intending to apply as a push-rim wheelchair time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2017:

Classification Age Men Women
T53 and T54 16 – 39 2:00:00 2:25:00
40 – 49 2:15:00 2:40:00
50 and over 2:30:00 2:55:00
T51 and T52 16 – 39 2:45:00 3:10:00
40 – 49 3:00:00 3:25:00
50 and over 3:15:00 3:40:00

The push-rim wheelchair division will follow the competition rules of World Para Athletics. A racing wheelchair must be used; no other type of wheelchair will be permitted on the course.  Push-rim wheelchair athletes that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing.

Duo teams: Duo teams (a person allowed to “push” a person with a permanent disability in a customized wheelchair, specific for outdoor road racing) may apply for a guaranteed entry under any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify.  To apply under the time qualifier method, the runner (pusher) of the duo team must meet the qualifying standard for gender and age group in accordance with the time qualifier policy. Duo teams that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing.

All duo teams must submit a completed and signed Bank of America Chicago Marathon Duo Teams Terms and Conditions form along with a photograph of the wheelchair that will be used. The completed form and photo must be submitted prior to submitting the Bank of America Chicago Marathon application. Please email awdprogram@chicagomarathon.com to request a form.

The duo team division is considered an exhibition event.  No awards or prize money will be given for this division.  Duo division teams will be given a starting position at the back of Wave 1.

Handcycle: Handcycle participants will not be selected through guaranteed application methods or a non-guaranteed drawing.  Handcycle participants must be active members of the Achilles Freedom Team and will be selected for participation by Achilles.

The handcycle division is considered an exhibition event.  No awards or prize money will be given for this division.


Athletes with Disabilities Program (AWD) policies and procedures

Mobility impaired, visually impaired, open field push-rim wheelchair athletes, and duo teams will be eligible to apply for a guaranteed entry at the beginning of the application period.  

Mobility impaired, visually impaired, open push-rim wheelchair athletes, and duo teams that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawings.  

Three separate drawings will be conducted: one for ambulatory athletes with disabilities (mobility impaired and visually impaired), one for open field push-rim wheelchair athletes, and one for duo teams.

Should the capacity for the respective field sizes be reached through guaranteed registration methods prior to the date of the drawings, no athletes will be selected for participation through the non-guaranteed drawings.  The following capacities have been established based on multiple factors for the overall safety and experience of the athletes:

Ambulatory athletes with disabilities (mobility impaired and visually impaired): 45
Open field push-rim wheelchair athletes: 25
Duo teams: 6 teams
Handcycles: 15 members of the Achilles Freedom Team

In the event the capacities for the field sizes are exceeded through guaranteed registration methods, athletes will be chosen for participation on a first-come, first-served basis from those athletes with accepted guaranteed registration applications.  Order will be determined by the time and date of the submission of the accepted guaranteed entry application.

Should there be capacity remaining in any of the fields after the drawing is complete, athletes may apply for a guaranteed entry through any of the guaranteed registration methods remaining available after the completion of the drawing. Athletes will be chosen for participation on a first come, first serve basis until the capacity is reached. Order will be determined by the time and date of the submission of the guaranteed entry application.

Athletes with disabilities that gain entry through a guaranteed registration method that permits cancellations or through the drawing will be eligible to cancel their entry and obtain a guaranteed entry for the following year in accordance with the registration cancellation policy.  Should a duo team choose to cancel their entry, both members of the team must cancel, and both must claim the guaranteed entry. Only those with cancelled duo division entries may claim a guaranteed entry to the duo division the following year through the cancelled entry track.  Cancelled individual entries may not be used to claim a guaranteed duo division spot.

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