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Participant Guide now available! The 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Participant Guide is now online. View the guide.

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Para Athletics Program

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Para Athletics Program at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, athletes must possess a permanent impairment that aligns with the ten eligible impairment types recognized by World Para Athletics:

Impaired Muscle Power
Athletes with Impaired Muscle Power have a Health Condition that either reduces or eliminates their ability to voluntarily contract their muscles in order to move or to generate force.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Impaired Muscle Power include spinal cord injury (complete or incomplete, tetra-or paraplegia or paraparesis), muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome and spina bifida.

Impaired Passive Range of Movement
Athletes with Impaired Passive Range of Movement have a restriction or a lack of passive movement in one or more joints.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Impaired Passive Range of Movement include arthrogryposis and contracture resulting from chronic joint immobilization or trauma affecting a joint.

Limb Deficiency
Athletes with Limb Deficiency have total or partial absence of bones or joints as a consequence of trauma (for example traumatic amputation), illness (for example amputation due to bone cancer) or congenital limb deficiency (for example dysmelia).

Short Stature
Athletes with Short Stature have a reduced length in the bones of the upper limbs, lower limbs and/or trunk.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Short Stature include achondroplasia, growth hormone dysfunction and osteogenesis imperfecta.

Hypertonia
Athletes with Hypertonia have an increase in muscle tension and a reduced ability of a muscle to stretch caused by damage to the central nervous system.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Hypertonia include cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Ataxia
Athletes with Ataxia have uncoordinated movements caused by damage to the central nervous system.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Ataxia include cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Athetosis
Athletes with Athetosis have continual slow involuntary movements.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Athetosis include cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Vision Impairment
Athletes with Vision Impairment have reduced or no vision caused by damage to the eye structure, optical nerves or optical pathways, or visual cortex of the brain.

Examples of an Underlying Health Condition that may lead to Vision Impairment include retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy.

Intellectual Impairment
Athletes with an Intellectual Impairment have a restriction in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior which affects conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills required for everyday life. This Impairment must be present before the age of 18.

Impairment Documentation

Athletes who wish to apply to the Para Athletics Program must either:

  • Have a national or World Para Athletics classification
  • Return the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Impairment Documentation Form
    • The form must be completed by a physician familiar with the athlete’s condition
    • The athlete’s application will not be approved until the form is received

Download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Impairment Documentation Form

Return the completed form by email to para.athletics@chicagomarathon.com.

Application procedures for the Para Athletics Program

Para Athletes may apply for guaranteed entry or through the non-guaranteed drawing.

Athletes must indicate the presence of an eligible impairment on the application.

Athletes with a lower limb impairment (T61-T64)

Athletes with a permanent lower limb impairment may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with a lower limb impairment that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes with a lower limb impairment intending to apply as a time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Classification Age Men Women
T61-T64 All 4:00:00 4:30:00

Athletes with an upper limb impairment (T45, T46)

Athletes with a permanent upper limb impairment may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with an upper limb impairment that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes with an upper limb impairment intending to apply as a time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Classification Age Men Women
T45 and T46 All 3:30:00 4:00:00

Athletes with short stature (T40, T41)

Athletes with short stature may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with short stature that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes with short stature intending to apply as a time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Classification Age Men Women
T40 and T41 All 4:30:00 5:00:00

Athletes with a vision impairment (T11, T12, T13):

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. Athletes must have a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better-seeing eye with best conventional correction. Athletes with a vision impairment that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes with a vision impairment intending to apply as a time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Classification Age Men Women
T13 16-39 3:40:00 4:10:00
40-49 3:50:00 4:20:00
50 and over 4:15:00 4:45:00
T11 and T12 16-39 3:50:00 4:20:00
40-49 4:00:00 4:30:00
50 and over 4:25:00 4:55:00

Athletes with an intellectual or coordination impairment (hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis) (T20, T35-T38)

Athletes with a restriction in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior or athletes with a coordination impairment (hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis) may apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with an intellectual impairment or coordination impairment that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Athletes with an intellectual impairment or coordination impairment intending to apply as a time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Classification Age Men Women
T20, T35-T38 All 4:00:00 4:30:00

Athletes in the push-rim wheelchair division

Athletes with a permanent impairment to utilize a push-rim wheelchair are eligible to apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with an impairment intending to use a push-rim wheelchair that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. 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, 2021:

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

The competitive push-rim wheelchair division will follow the competition rules of World Para Athletics. A racing wheelchair must be used.

Athletes in the handcycle division

Athletes with permanent disabilities intending to utilize a handcycle are eligible to apply for a guaranteed entry through any guaranteed entry method for which they qualify. Athletes with a permanent disability intending to use a handcycle that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawing. Handcycle athletes intending to apply as time qualifier must have met the following standards at a certified marathon completed on or after January 1, 2021:

Age Men Women
All 1:30:00 2:00:00

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

Duo teams

Duo teams (a person allowed to “push” a person with a permanent impairment 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 participant (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.

Download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Duo Teams Terms & Conditions Form

Return the completed form by email to para.athletics@chicagomarathon.com.

The rider of the duo team must have either a national or World Para Athletics classification or must return the Impairment Documentation 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. 


Para Athletics Program policies and procedures

Athletes with an upper or lower limb impairment, vision impairment, short stature, or intellectual or coordination impairment, open field push-rim wheelchair athletes, handcycle athletes and duo teams will be eligible to apply for a guaranteed entry at the beginning of the application period.

Athletes with an upper or lower limb impairment, vision impairment, short stature, or intellectual or coordination impairment, open field push-rim wheelchair athletes, handcycle athletes and duo teams that do not qualify for a guaranteed entry may apply for the non-guaranteed drawings.

Four separate drawings will be conducted: one for ambulatory Para Athletes (upper or lower limb impairments, vision impairments, short stature, or intellectual or coordination impairments), one for open field push-rim wheelchair athletes, one for handcycle 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: 45
Open field push-rim wheelchair athletes: 25
Duo teams: 6 teams
Handcycles: 20

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. The 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-served basis until the capacity is reached. The order will be determined by the time and date of the submission of the guaranteed entry application.

Athletes with impairments that gain entry through a registration method that permits cancellations 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 canceled duo division entries may claim guaranteed entry to the duo division the following year through the canceled entry track. Canceled individual entries may not be used to claim a guaranteed duo division spot.

The start corral for ambulatory Para Athletes will be at the back of Wave 1. Ambulatory Para Athletes may qualify for a start corrals A through D in accordance with the start corral qualifying standards and procedures.

Questions?  Email para.athletics@chicagomarathon.com


Guide and support runner rules

View the rules and guidelines for guide and support runners, as well as ambulatory athletes in the Para Athletics Program who will be requesting to utilize a guide or support runner. Learn about the Guide and support runner rules.


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