loading...
Skip to content

2021 FAQs

Do you have a question about the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon event or application process? Please view the frequently asked questions below to find the answers to your questions.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, please contact the Chicago Marathon office at 312.904.9800 during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., U.S. Central Time) or email office@chicagomarathon.com.

  • 2021 EVENT FAQS

    When is the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Planning for the 43rd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is underway with the goal of returning to the streets of Chicago on Sunday, October 10, 2021.

    How are you preparing for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon? Will event attendees be required to adhere to specific coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines?
    We are working closely with the City of Chicago, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, to provide a safe and enjoyable race weekend experience for all event attendees. Preparations for the October 2021 race will align with Chicago’s re-opening framework, including strict adherence to local and state coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines. We recognize guidance is likely to change between now and October 2021. For this reason, the event will provide specific guidelines to registered participants in the months and weeks leading up to race weekend. 

    When will you share more details about what event attendees can expect for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (requirements, mitigation efforts, operational changes, etc.)?
    We recognize participants and members of the community are eager to understand what the event will look like this fall. While we’re committed to sharing our plans, we want to do so in a measured way to ensure we’re sharing updates that reflect what you will see race weekend. We are working to provide high-level updates in early June in conjunction with the launch of training and will continue to share more specific guidelines throughout the summer and fall.

    What is the anticipated field size for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    We anticipate a field that’s in line with what we’ve seen in years past. Providing a safe and enjoyable race weekend experience for event attendees and the Chicago community is our top priority. We are prepared to make adjustments to the field size, if necessary, to align with guidance from public health officials. 

    I missed the guaranteed and non-guaranteed entry application window. Can I still get an entry into the 2021 event?
    Individuals who are interested in participating in the 2021 Chicago Marathon can secure an entry through one of the limited guaranteed entry opportunities still available. In order to gain access to an available guaranteed entry, applicants must agree to the terms of the entry or qualify for the entry.

    Learn more about the entry opportunities that are still available for the 2021 event.

    Are you planning to offer a virtual option in conjunction with the in-person event?
    We are not planning to offer a virtual option at this time. Our intent and focus is on safely returning the event back to the streets of Chicago this October.

    What will spectator access look like for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    We are exploring spectator access for the 2021 event.  Part of our planning is to share best practices to encourage friends and family of participants, as well as the City of Chicago, to spectate responsibly. While we’re committed to sharing our plans, we want to do so in a measured way to ensure we’re sharing updates that reflect what you will see race weekend. We are working to provide high-level updates around the launch of training and will continue to share more specific guidelines throughout the summer and fall.

    I’m traveling to Chicago for the event and I have concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions. Will there be accommodations for participants who are restricted from traveling to Chicago for the event?
    We are closely monitoring international travel guidance in response to the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize that guidance is likely to change between now and October and are not prepared to make any accommodations at this time.

    Are participants going to be required to pick-up their race materials in person?
    Yes. As in the past, registered participants will be required to pick-up their own items in person in advance of the event. Event organizers are working closely with the City of Chicago, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, to safely produce an event in line with the City’s guidelines and re-opening framework. 

    Does the Bank of America Chicago Marathon have a recommended training plan?
    Yes. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon offers an official 18-week training program developed by Nike Coaches. The program is made to be adaptive to all runners and customized to fit in with your daily schedule and needs. For more information and to download the program, please visit the Training & nutrition page.

    Where can I find information about race day street closures?
    Information about race day street closures will be available in advance of race day.

    Is race day hospitality going to be available for the 2021 event?
    We are exploring hospitality options for the 2021 event and will make ticket sales available if and when it is determined we can safely offer this amenity.

  • CHARITY AND INTERNATIONAL TOUR PARTNER FAQS

    What are the requirements of running for charity at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Each charity manages its own unique charity team, participant benefits and fundraising requirements. Fundraising requirements may vary from charity to charity, but will be no less than $1,250 (USD) if the entry is claimed during the application window (November 2020 to February 2021) and $1,750 (USD) if the entry is claimed after the application window (February 2021 to September 2021). Those interested in running for charity should directly contact the charity of their choice with any questions.

    Note: Only charities that are part of the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon Charity Program have access to guaranteed entries. Visit the Charity Index for a complete list of official charity partners.

    What are the requirements of joining an international tour group at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Each tour partner manages its own unique tour and requirements, such as cost of entry, air travel, hotel, etc. Please note, only tour operators that are part of the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon International Tour Program (ITP) have access to guaranteed entries and not all countries have approved Chicago Marathon tour partners. Those interested in joining an international tour group should directly contact the tour partner of their choice with any questions.

    The tour group that represents my country no longer has entries. May I run with another tour group?
    Some tour operators that are part of the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon International Tour Program (ITP) offer packages for interested participating traveling from various countries. We encourage you to contact the international tour partner directly to learn about the options available. If you are not able to identify a tour partner to work with, you can also gain an entry into the event through the official Charity Program.

    Learn more about the entry opportunities that are still available for the 2021 event.

    I completed the charity or tour group application/registration and no longer want to run with a charity or tour group. What do I do?
    Please contact your charity team or tour group coordinator directly for additional information.

    I want to run for a charity, but I don’t see them listed on the website?
    Only charities that are a part of our official Charity Program have access to guaranteed entries. Individuals selected through the drawing are welcome to run on behalf of any organization or cause.

  • CANCELLATION (BY YOU OR BY US)

    What are my options if I sign up and can’t participate?
    Registered participants who are unable to participate in the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon can cancel their entry now through Tuesday, September 21 via their participant account. All event fees (entry, ancillary products, etc.) are non-refundable and will not be applied to future participation. Participants who select this option must complete the 2022 application process and pay the 2022 entry fee in order to redeem their guaranteed entry. It’s important to note that once an entry is cancelled the process cannot be undone.

    This opportunity is not available to participants who received a guaranteed entry through the charity or tour group applications.

    I claimed my 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Am I eligible for the event’s entry cancellation process?
    Registered participants who claimed their 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 event are eligible to cancel their 2021 entry and access a guaranteed entry for the 2022 event. Participants who select this option must complete the 2022 application process and pay the 2022 entry fee in order to redeem their guaranteed entry. 

    I am injured and/or cannot run the event (family commitment, work obligation, etc.). Can I get a refund, donate my entry or transfer my entry to someone else?
    No. Per our event rules: Sale and/or transfer of race entries/bib numbers is strictly prohibited and will result in the disqualification and/or banning of any individuals involved from future events. All entry fees are non-refundable. 

    Are there any exceptions at all? If I provide medical documentation for my surgery, injury, pregnancy, etc., can I receive a refund?
    There are no exceptions to the event rules.

    I cancelled my entry, but something changed and now I’m able to participate. Can I undo my decision to cancel my entry?
    No. Once you cancel your 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon entry it cannot be undone. Registered participants have until Tuesday, September 21, 2021 to complete the individual cancellation process. We encourage you to complete the process when you are confident you can no longer participate in the 2021 event.

    What are my options if race organizers cancel the event?
    If it is determined, for reasons outside of the event’s control, that the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon cannot take place, registered participants will have the option to receive a partial refund for their 2021 entry or the opportunity to defer their place to the 2022 event and receive a discount on their 2022 entry fee.

    Learn more about the options available to registered participants in the event of a race cancellation.

    What happens if I cancel my entry (cancellation by you) and the event is then cancelled by organizers (cancellation by us) at a later date?
    If it is determined, for reasons outside of the event’s control, that the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon cannot take place, your individual entry cancellation will be voided, and you will receive the same options as a registered runner for the 2021 event.

    Learn more about the options available to registered participants in the event of a race cancellation.

    Participants received a refund or the option to defer their place and entry fee towards a future event in response to the cancellation of the event in 2020. Why did these options change for the 2021 event?
    Accommodations offered to 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon registered participants were based on a unique set of circumstances surrounding the decision to cancel the 2020 race. As a result, the event put into place an exception to our standard event policies.

    Our current policy in the event of a cancellation considers a participant’s financial commitment to the event, as well as the cost and the resources required to stage a world-class marathon. Every dollar that is collected through registration is invested back into the event to help cover these expenses and to enhance the overall experience for our participants. Planning and financial commitment for each year’s event begin well in advance of the application window for the next event.

    Learn more about the options available to registered participants in the event of a race cancellation.

  • REFUNDABLE BOOKING

    What is refundable booking?
    Individuals who are concerned they may not be able to participate in the 2021 event could pay an additional service fee (14% of all items purchased, excluding event processing fees) for a 100% refund of the entry fee and additional products paid by the participant during the registration process. Registered participants, who purchased refundable booking, and are unable to participate in the race (for one of the wide range of perils covered) will receive a 100% refund of their entry fee and ancillary purchases within 10 business days of the claim submission.

    Learn more about refundable booking.

    Who is eligible to purchase refundable booking?
    Refundable booking is available to individuals who paid for their entry and/or additional products during the registration process. Please note, refundable booking is not available to individuals whose entry will be paid for by a charity, tour or sponsor partner.

    When can I purchase refundable booking?
    The option to purchase refundable booking is only available during the application/registration process. It cannot be added to your entry or products purchased at the point of registration at a later date.

    If event organizers cancel the event would I receive a refund on my refundable booking purchase?
    No. In the event of a cancellation by the event, the additional service fee associated with refundable booking would not be refunded.

    I purchased refundable booking and I can no longer participate. How do I submit a claim/apply for a refund?
    If you purchased refundable booking and your reason for not participating is included in the terms, you must complete the Refund Application Form as soon as possible to apply for a refund. For more information on refundable booking visit: refundable.me/haku/.

    What does refundable booking cover?
    A wide range of perils are covered by refundable booking. Please note, refundable booking does not cover the following:

    • If the participant does not attend the event because they are concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) or are self-isolating without a positive COVID-19 test or other non-COVID-19 communicable diseases leading to quarantines or travel restrictions
    • Actual or perceived: war, hostilities, civil commotion, etc.
    • If event organizers cancel the race
    • Processing fees associated with items (entry fee, ancillary products, etc.) purchased during the application process

    For more information on the perils covered by refundable booking visit: refundable.me/haku/.

    Why aren’t communicable diseases covered by refundable booking?
    Refundable Booking administered by the Protect Group only provides a refund for the listed wide range of perils covered.  Communicable diseases are not a covered reason offered by the Protect Group.  See Covid-19 section in the following link to see where Protect Group may consider a refund related to Covid-19: refundable.me/haku/.

    If my refund is approved, will the refundable booking service be included in the refund?
    Individuals who add refundable booking to their application will pay an additional service fee (14% of all items purchased, excluding event processing fees) for a 100% refund of the entry fee and additional products paid by the participant during the registration process. If a refund claim is submitted and approved, the additional service fee (14% of all items purchased, excluding event processing fees) will not be included in the amount refunded.

    My refund from Protect Group was approved and processed, but something changed and now I’m able to participate. Can I undo my refund?
    No. Once your refund has been approved the process cannot be undone. We encourage you to complete the process when you are confident you can no longer participate in the 2021 event.

    What if my refund from Protect Group is denied?
    While a wide range of perils are covered by refundable booking, the optional extension does not cover all perils that might prevent you from participating in the event. If your refund is denied, you are still eligible to cancel your entry. When you cancel your entry it’s important to note, all event fees (entry, ancillary products, etc.) are non-refundable and will not be applied to future participation. Participants who select this option must complete the 2022 application process and pay the 2022 entry fee in order to redeem their guaranteed entry. For more information on refundable booking visit: refundable.me/haku/.

  • TRAVEL

    Do you work with an official travel and housing partner that offers special rates for Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants?
    Yes, Experient is the official travel and housing partner of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Visit the Chicago Marathon housing site to book your hotel today.

    We encourage you to review all travel partner cancellation policies prior to booking travel accommodations for race weekend.

    What is the official headquarter hotel of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    The Hilton Chicago is the official headquarter hotel of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

    I booked my hotel through the Bank of America Chicago Marathon housing site – did I book through a third party?
    Yes. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon works with Experient, the official travel and housing partner, to provide access to exclusive room blocks at the city’s most desirable hotels. If you have questions in regard to reservations booked through Experient, please email chi@experient-inc.com or call 800.967.8852. International participants, please call 847.996.5832.

    How can I confirm my hotel reservation?
    Once you have made your hotel reservation you will receive a confirmation email from Experient. If you do not receive the email, please contact Experient’s customer service at chi@experient-inc.com. 

    How can I cancel my hotel reservation?
    If you’ve booked your hotel registration through the Bank of America Chicago Marathon housing site and would like to cancel your registration, please contact Experient’s customer service at chi@experient-inc.com. 

    I’m traveling to Chicago for the event and I have concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions. Will there be accommodations for participants who are restricted from traveling to Chicago for the event?
    We are closely monitoring international travel guidance in response to the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize that guidance is likely to change between now and October and are not prepared to make any accommodations at this time. 

    What is the best way to get to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers an economical and convenient way to get to and from Grant Park on race day. For the most up-to-date travel information and to learn how to use the CTA bus and rail system visit transitchicago.com.

    Where should I park my car race morning?
    If you drive, allow sufficient time for heavy traffic congestion and street closures due to the race. The closest race day parking options to Grant Park are available at the Millennium Garages (Grant Park North, Grant Park South, Millennium Park and Millennium Lakeside garages). For more information, please visit millenniumgarages.com.

    Where can I find information about race day street closures?
    Information about race day street closures will be available in advance of race day.

  • ABBOTT HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO

    Where is Abbott Health & Fitness Expo (packet pick-up) located?
    The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo is held at the McCormick Place Convention Center. For more information on the Health & Fitness Expo, visit the Expo & packet pick-up page.

    When is the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo (packet pick-up)?

    • Friday, October 8
      9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 9
      9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Times are subject to change.

    Do I have to pick up my participant packet, participant bag and t-shirt at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo?
    Yes. You must pick up your participant packet and participant bag in person at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo during regularly scheduled hours. These items (participant packets, bags and participant shirts) will not be available for pickup on race day and will not be mailed. Individuals will not be allowed to pick up these items on behalf of others.

    Can I pick up my participant packet, participant bag and t-shirt on the day of the race?
    No. Participant materials will not be available for race day pick up.

    What exhibitors will be at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo?
    The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo features a variety of health and fitness exhibitors. A full list of exhibitors will be available in advance of race weekend on the Expo & packet pick-up page.

    If I am a vendor interested in purchasing booth space at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, whom should I contact?
    If you are interested in purchasing booth space, please visit the Marketing Opportunities page.

  • RACE DAY

    Where is the start line?
    The Bank of America Chicago Marathon start line is located in Grant Park at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Monroe Street. 

    What are start corrals?
    Start corrals are designated start areas designed to facilitate a more efficient and convenient race start for all participants. Start Corrals are assigned based on a submitted and verified qualifying time or on the estimated finish time you entered on your race application. More information about start corrals for the 2021 event will be available this summer.

    Are start corrals guaranteed?
    No. Assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis until the corrals reach their respective capacities.

    Will there be an option to submit qualifying times for start corral placement?
    Yes. Participants will have the option to submit a qualifying time for their start corral placement. More information about the start corral process will be shared with registered participants this summer.  

    Where can I check my gear on race day?
    You may store small personal items or articles of clothing during the race at your designated gear check area, which is determined by your start wave and corral. 

    Which gear check area should I use?
    Each runner is assigned to a specific gear check area. Your assigned gear check area corresponds with your start wave, as well as the color of your event bib number.

    What is the course time limit?
    The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a course time limit of 6 hours and 30 minutes. After this time, the course will re-open to vehicular traffic. Participants must maintain a 15-minute per mile pace (approximately) or faster, completing the full marathon distance—start line to finish line—within the event time requirement. Those who finish outside of the time limit will not be recorded as official finishers and may not receive full on-course support from aid stations and traffic safety personnel.

    If the weather changes during the race, will there be alerts along the course?
    Yes, if weather changes during the race participants will be alerted based on the Event Alert System (EAS) levels. The Event Alert System is a color-coded system that communicates the status of course conditions to participants, spectators, volunteers and event staff leading up to and on race day. On race day, the current EAS level is announced via public address announcements and color-coded signs/flags at the start and finish areas and at each of the 20 aid stations along the course. 

    How many aid stations are on course?
    There are 20 aid stations on course. The aid stations are located approximately one to two miles apart. 

    What flavor Gatorade do you offer on the course?
    Gatorade Endurance Formula Lemon-lime will be offered at all aid stations.

    Can I run with headphones?
    Yes. Music devices with headphones are permitted for use on the course; however, participants must be alert to their surroundings at all times and must pay attention to important announcements made in Grant Park and along the course. Music devices with headphones are not permitted for use by athletes in the American Development Program. 

    Can I run with my GPS watch device?
    Yes. Participants can run with their GPS watch device. However, athletes competing for prize money cannot carry devices that can be used to communicate with any other person. 

    What is not allowed on course?
    The event does prohibit participants from using or carrying certain items/devices while on course. For more information on the prohibited devices, please visit the Event rules page. 

    Where is the Bank of America Chicago Marathon finish line located?
    The Bank of America Chicago Marathon finish line is located on Columbus Drive south of Balbo Drive in Grant Park. 

    Is there medical care at the finish line?
    Yes. There are medical personnel and medical facilities at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon finish line. The Main Medical Tent, Podiatry Tent and Ice Station are located directly beyond the finish line. An additional medical tent is located in Grant Park to assist participants after they exit the finish area.


Bank of America Abbott World Marathon Majors World Athletics Platinum Label

Search Panel

Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Beginning of dialog message

You are now leaving the Bank of America Chicago Marathon website

By clicking Continue, you will be taken to a third party website. Bank of America’s privacy policy and level of security do not apply to their site as they may have their own privacy policy and security practices. You can click the Cancel button to return to the previous page, or you can use the back button on your browser after you leave.

Continue End of dialog message