How the Chicago Marathon Works

Chicago Marathon Results
Liliya Shobukhova, of Russia, celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the women's 2009 Chicago Marathon.
Liliya Shobukhova, of Russia, celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the women's 2009 Chicago Marathon.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Runners race for different reasons. Some love the thrill of competition. Some want a qualifying time for another race. Others enjoy the lively atmosphere of race day. Because training for a marathon requires a serious time investment, it's important to choose your race wisely.

If you're looking to set a personal best or place in your age category, Chicago's fast, flat course might be just the place to do it. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon awards engraved finish medals to the top five male and female finishers in the following age groups: 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80 & over. Search the marathon's online database of race results to see how you stack up against past winners.

If following in the footsteps of running's greatest champions gets you motivated, Chicago has delivered some of the most exciting moments in marathon history. In the 13th Chicago Marathon, Polish racer Antoni Niemczak ran the last 10 miles of the course neck and neck with Mexico's Martin Pitayo. At the final moment, Pitayo pulled ahead for a 0.3-second victory over Niemczak -- the closest finish ever in American marathon history. In the 2002 marathon, Paula Radcliffe capped off a year of stunning performances with a world-class finish time of 2:17:18, knocking almost a minute and a half off the previous women's world-record time [source: Bank of America Corp, Race History].

Running Chicago is rewarding for many reasons. Thousands of Chicago runners raise millions of dollars each year for charity. Cheering spectators pack the course from start to finish, giving the Chicago Marathon an electric atmosphere that will boost your spirit and maybe even your performance. Running Chicago is also just plain fun. "With race day being just a few weeks prior to Halloween, people are already getting into the spirit," says Jeremy Borling. "We get quite a few people dressed up like superheroes. We also tend to get a few marriage proposals at the finish line, which is always exciting."

Find great links and lots more Chicago Marathon information on the next page.

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