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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?
    Event organizers 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 weeks leading up to race weekend.

    What is the anticipated field size for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    At this time, we are preparing for an event at the size and scale we’ve seen in the 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.

    What are my options if I sign up and can’t participate?
    As in the past, registered participants will have the opportunity to cancel their entry and access a guaranteed entry for the next event. 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. Please note, this opportunity will not be available to participants who received a guaranteed entry through the 2020 deferred entry, charity or tour group applications.

    Participants who deferred their 2020 place and entry fee as part of the 2020 event cancellation will be 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.

    New this year, individuals will have the option to purchase refundable booking during the application process.

    Learn more about the options available to registered participants if they choose not to participate.

    What is refundable booking and who is it available to?
    Individuals who are concerned they may not be able to participate in the 2021 event can 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.

    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 eligible to individuals whose entry will be paid for by a charity or sponsor partner.

    Learn more about the options available to registered participants if they choose not to participate.

    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.

    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.

     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.

    Is race day hospitality going to be available for the 2021 event?
    The event is 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.

  • General Application FAQs

    What is the difference between a guaranteed entry and a non-guaranteed entry?
    A guaranteed entry ensures you a spot in the field for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, provided that you agree to the terms of that entry (Charity Program, International Tour Program) or that you qualify for that entry (2020 Deferred entry, Chicago Marathon Legacy Finisher, Time Qualifier, Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Legacy, American Development Program and Athletes with Disabilities Program).

    A non-guaranteed entry is subject to a selection through a drawing.

    What are the application deadlines?

    • Thursday, November 19 @ 10 a.m. (Central Time): 2020 Deferred Entry and Charity Application Window Open
    • Tuesday, December 15 @ 2 p.m. (Central Time): 2020 Deferred Entry Application Window Closes
      • Charity program entries are available on a first-come first-served basis until September 2021 or when the charity has reached its capacity, whichever comes first.
    • January 2021 to February 2021: Guaranteed and Non-Guaranteed Application Window
      • Application for a non-guaranteed entry (drawing)
      • Guaranteed application paths:
        • Time qualifier: Individuals who have met the event’s age graded qualifying standards or qualify for the event’s American Development Program.
        • Legacy finisher: Individuals who have completed the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the last 10 years. The 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience will not be applied to the Legacy finisher application path.
        • International Tour Group: International runners (non-U.S.) participating in the 2021 event with an official International Tour Group Program partner. Tour partners typically offer participants a package that includes the cost of entry, air travel, hotel, etc. and vary between tour operators.
        • Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Legacy: Individuals who have completed the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K four or more times since 2008 and have signed up for the 2021 Shamrock Shuffle (registration expected to open December 2020).
    • March 2021: Non-Guaranteed Entry Drawing Selection

    Learn more about the different application paths.

    Why do 2020 deferred participants and charities have early access to entries for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Introducing a tiered application process allows the event to slowly and safely build a participant field for next fall, while also recognizing participants who had previously committed to the event and promoting charity participation in a time where participant support is needed now more than ever.

    Why does the application window for 2020 deferred participants close in December?
    Given their commitment to the event, 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants who deferred their place and entry fee to a future event have early access to the 2021 application. For planning purposes, participants eligible for a 2020 deferred entry will only have access to claim the deferred entry during the limited application window.

    If an eligible individual chooses to not claim their 2020 deferred entry by Tuesday, December 15, they are still able to apply for a guaranteed or non-guaranteed entry during the four-week open application starting in January 2021. You also remain eligible to claim your 2020 deferred entry for the 2022 or 2023 editions of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. 

    What is the entry fee for the 2021 race?
    The fee for individuals who qualify for a guaranteed entry or are selected through the drawing for the 2021 race will be $205 (USD) for U.S. residents or $230 (USD) for those residing outside of the U.S.

    As in previous years, applicants will be asked to provide credit card information as a part of the application process. Credit cards will be charged if and when an application is approved or accepted through the drawing.

    • When completing the application please use a credit card that has an expiration date of April 2021 or later.
    • Please be aware a processing fee will be applied to all entry fees for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. 

    Why is a processing fee applied to the entry fee at the point of registration?
    The processing fee included at the point of registration is charged by the registration service for providing its software and services. This processing fee is non-refundable in any and all circumstances.

    I’m hesitant to sign up because of concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Will there be opportunities to sign up closer to the event date?
    Individuals who are interested in signing up closer to the event may do so by running and fundraising on behalf of a charity. Each charity manages its own unique charity team, participant benefits and fundraising requirements. While fundraising requirements may vary from charity to charity, participants are required to raise 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 following the application window (February 2021 to September 2021). Charity program entries are available on a first-come first-served basis until September 2021 or when the charity has reached its capacity, whichever comes first.

    What happens if my friend or family member gets selected and I don’t?
    The person who did not receive an entry through the drawing will still have the opportunity to guarantee entry by running with a charity in the event’s official Charity or International Tour Programs.

  • 2020 Deferred Entry FAQs

    I didn’t receive a link to claim my 2020 deferred entry. How can I access the application to claim my entry?
    Please contact office@chicagomarathon.com. A member of our customer service team will respond to your email with a link specific to your 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon application path. Please note, all entry applications are reviewed to confirm entry eligibility.

    What happens if I don’t claim my 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 event?
    You are not required to claim your entry for the 2021 event. If you don’t claim your 2020 deferred entry by 2 p.m. (U.S. Central Time) on Tuesday, December 15, the event will defer your 2020 place and entry fee to a future race (2022 or 2023).

    If I don’t claim my 2020 deferred entry by the December 15 deadline, can I apply for a guaranteed or non-guaranteed entry during the January application window?
    Yes. If you choose not to claim your 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 event, you may apply for a guaranteed or non-guaranteed entry during the five-week open application window starting in January.

    Please note, your 2020 entry fee will only be applied when you claim your 2020 deferred entry. If you opt to apply for an entry through another application path you will be required to pay the 2021 entry fee.

    If I claim my 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 event, can I purchase refundable booking?
    Refundable booking is only applicable to the items paid for during the 2021 application process. If you purchase a new product when claiming your 2020 deferred entry, those items would be eligible for a refund through refundable booking.

    Please note, your entry is not eligible for a refund through refundable booking, since you are not paying for the entry as a part of the 2021 application process.

    If I claim my 2020 deferred entry for the 2021 event, will I be eligible to cancel my entry if I’m not able to participate?
    Yes. You will be eligible to defer your entry to the 2022 event. If you cancel your entry you must pay the 2022 entry fee when claiming your entry during the 2022 application window. Please note, the ancillary items purchased for the 2020 event will not be deferred to 2022.

    How do I claim the additional items I purchased for the 2020 event?
    If you purchased additional items (Race Day Hospitality, Priority Access Package, MarathonFoto Package, iTAB or the Chicago Tribune Commemorative Package) for the 2020 event, these items will be carried over to your participant account in the weeks following the December 15 entry deadline. Do not re-purchase these items when claiming your entry.

  • 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. ITP entry information will be available in December.

    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.

  • Legacy and Time Qualifier Application FAQs

    How were the Time Qualifier standards determined?
    Time Qualifier standards are based, in part, on the number of participants who have historically met the qualifying standards for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s fastest start corrals, as well as the need to arrive at a number of likely registrants that can be managed for the 2021 Chicago Marathon. 

    Can those who narrowly missed the qualifying time, or who ran a comparable time at a different distance (e.g. half marathon, 50K, etc.), or who ran a qualifying time prior to January 1, 2019, be considered for guaranteed entry as a Time Qualifier?
    No. Exceptions to qualifying times, distances and dates will not be made.

    Can those who run a qualifying time after the application window register as a Time Qualifier?
    No. All time qualifiers must register during the January 2021 application window.

    What constitutes a verifiable time for guaranteed entry as a Time Qualifier?
    A marathon time run on a course certified by USA Track & Field (USATF), IAAF, or similar governing association on or after January 1, 2019. Proof must be submitted in the form of an official finisher certificate or official results page. Exceptions/considerations will not be made for non-certified events, weather or course conditions, or for any race distance other than a full marathon.

    I participated in the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience. Will my participation count towards the legacy or time qualifier entry application?
    No. The Virtual Experience results listing will not be incorporated into the official Bank of America Chicago Marathon results and cannot be used as a qualifying time for other events.

    Will past Chicago Marathon finishers be given preference to register for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Yes. Those who have completed five or more Chicago Marathons within the last 10 years may register for the 2021 Chicago Marathon with a guaranteed entry. Beyond this consideration, past Chicago Marathon finishers have the same registration options as all other interested individuals.

  • Drawing Application FAQs

    Is it possible that the event might sell out through the issuance of guaranteed entries, thus negating the drawing?
    No. The guaranteed entry application paths are in place to supplement the non-guaranteed drawing, not replace it. The allotment of charity and tour group entries is managed in a manner to maintain the diversity of the participant field and the equity of the entry process.

    Is there a fee to apply for the non-guaranteed entry drawing?
    There is no fee to apply for an entry.

    Is there a limit to the number of people that can apply for a non-guaranteed entry?
    No. The application will remain open for entry until the application deadline.

    How many entries will be available through the non-guaranteed entry drawing?
    We don’t know at this time, as that number will depend on the total number of people who register with a guaranteed entry by the application deadline. 

    How many entries are allotted to charities and tour groups?
    There is not a specific allotment of entries for charities or tour groups. Rather, the registration process for these groups has been designed to help them achieve the same number of participants they have had in past years and to allow for slight, incremental growth. 

    Is there an advantage to applying for the drawing earlier verses later?
    No. The time at which someone applies for the drawing will have no bearing on their chances of selection.

    When/how will I know if I’ve been selected through the non-guaranteed entry drawing?
    Applicants will be notified via email of their entry status in March 2021.

    Can someone apply for the non-guaranteed entry drawing multiple times to increase their chances of selection?
    No. Prior to selection, duplicate entries will be removed from the system and therefore will not increase one’s chances of selection.

    What happens if I enter the non-guaranteed entry drawing multiple times and get selected more than once?
    Duplicate entries will be removed from the system prior to the drawing. 

    If I’m not selected to receive an entry is there still a way I can participate in the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
    Yes. Individuals who apply for, but do not receive an entry through the drawing may still register by opting to run for select official charities or tour groups.


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