Tips for Chicago Marathon Spectators

It’s almost that time! If you’re going to watch the Chicago Marathon tomorrow, along with over 1.5 million other people (for real), are you wondering how to track Chicago Marathon runners? What about where you should watch from, and how to get around? I’ve got some answers for ya!

>> Tracking Chicago Marathon Runners

The EASIEST way to track runners is to download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon app (named ChiMarathon2013). You can easily search and add runners to track, and check up on their split times.

If you want to track Chicago Marathon runners by text message alerts, Facebook, or Twitter, you need to sign up by 11pm CST tonight (Saturday). You can track up to three people as they cross the 10K (6.2 mile), HALF (13.1 mile), 30K (18.6 mile), and finish line. Here’s how to do it:

Create a user account here.

• One you create your account, you get three buttons you can click, to authorize messaging by mobile phone, Facebook and/or Twitter:

Chicago Marathon Runner Tracking Registration

Runner Tracking Page

• If you click to authorize your mobile phone, it will ask for the phone number of the phone that you’ll be tracking with. Once you enter that, you’ll get a code via text message to then enter. This verifies you’ve given the correct number.

• If you click the Facebook or Twitter buttons to authorize your accounts to receive alerts (posted directly on your Facebook wall, or Twitter feed), you simply then enter your username & password for FB/Twitter and click “Authorize App.”

• Once you have authorized mobile/FB/Twitter, you click on the “Next” button to search for the runners you want to track. Once you get the results, just click on the bubble next to their name and click “Submit.”

• Voila! Runner will be tracked for you. Now you can add up to two more people to track, if you choose.

It might look complicated, but it only takes a couple of minutes, I promise! I’ve tried to condense & simplify the steps to take, but for more complete details, see the official runner tracking page.

>> Where to Watch the Chicago Marathon

Devise your game plan of where you want to go, and where you runner wants you to be, before you get to the marathon. Use the CTA train map on page two of the Spectator Guide to figure out where to go and how to get there. It’s quite easy if you use that map as your guide, even if you’ve never been to Chicago. You obviously can’t make it to every other mile to see your runner, so pick a handful and give yourself time to get on & off the packed trains, plus the time it takes to get from point A to B.

When in doubt, follow the crowd! Thousands and thousands of people will be blazing the same trail as you. And, don’t be afraid to ask for directions or help from those around you. Chicago peeps are pretty knowledgeable, and any other marathon spectator will understand and lend a hand.

>> How to Be a Kick-Ass Spectator

Make funny signs.

Funny signs I've seen at races past.

Funny signs I’ve seen at races past.

Watch for runners’ names on their shirts or bibs and cheer for them. Even if it’s strangers cheering for you, any time you hear your name cheered while running gives an instant boost to your step!

Don’t be that annoying person who crosses the street in the middle of the race. Just don’t, or we’ll run you over…or run into you. Literally. If you must cross the street, hop into the race when there is a good opening, and run upstream with the flow of the runners until you get across. As an added bonus, on Monday you can tell everyone that you ran in the Chicago Marathon.

>> Enjoy your time spectating the race and cheering!

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