The Chicago Marathon is a major marathon for a reason. Walking up to the start line, it's impossible not to feel like you're a part of something bigger than yourself. With over 40,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators, the city really shines in this race. The course takes you through downtown, up north (with glimpses of the lake and memorable stints through Boystown), back south to downtown, out west to Pilsen and Chinatown, back east and further south, and then finally north on Michigan Avenue for the last stretch before the dreaded 'hill" on Roosevelt.
Things I loved about this marathon- the crowd support (so many cheer stations!) and the community among runners can't be overstated. The course takes you on a tour of Chicago, the volunteers are engaged throughout the entire race (love that they hand out Vaseline at certain stations), the aid stations are incredibly well-stocked and consistent, and it's easy to get to the race using public transit. Chicago knows what its doing! The expo is also amazing and huge- I would recommend going on Friday so that you can walk around without worrying about tiring your legs out before race day.
Things I didn't love- so disappointed in the technical t-shirt for this race. It's the same style shirt you get for running a neighborhood 5K, and it's dark grey with just the Bank of America logo on it. I mean, considering I paid $185 for this race, surely they could come up with a little cooler of a design, right? I might not even keep this shirt.
This was my first marathon and while I'm hooked, I'm also a little sad knowing that my next marathon probably won't be anywhere near as amazing as this one was. Definitely a great race for first-time marathoners and a must-do for any race junkie!