The City of Chicago and Race Organizers Prepare for the 43rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon set for Sunday, October 10




CHICAGO – City of Chicago officials and Bank of America Chicago Marathon organizers are reminding the public about the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 10, when more than 33,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries are expected to travel through 29 neighborhoods for the 26.2-mile race, requiring street closures and parking restrictions throughout the Marathon route.  Plans are in place for a safe and successful Chicago Marathon weekend, which includes the Abbott Chicago 5K on Saturday, October 9 and residents, spectators, participants, and motorists are urged to be mindful of the traffic impacts as well as safety measures in place for these events.


“The City of Chicago has been working with race organizers and our law enforcement partners in the planning and execution of the Marathon, in an effort to minimize impacts while making it a safe event for race participants, residents and visitors,” said Rich Guidice, Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). “As always, public safety is our number one priority, and we want to remind the public to report any suspicious or criminal activity by calling 9-1-1.”


This year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon will include slight access adjustments due to COVID-19 and public safety. For example, there will be no bleachers at the finish line in Grant Park and runners will cross the Monroe Street bridge this year due to maintenance work being done on the Adams Street bridge, which is traditionally part of the 26.2 mile course.


The Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s national and international reputation as a world class event has helped to raise millions of dollars for various charitable causes. With the marathon returning to the streets of Chicago after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID -19 pandemic, event organizers have worked closely with the City of Chicago on race weekend plans that align with Chicago’s public health and safety guidance. Race organizers have encouraged all to follow the guidelines outlined in the Chicago Marathon event health policy.


“We’re thrilled to welcome participants and Chicagoans this weekend to celebrate the return of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” said Executive Race Director, Carey Pinkowski. “The world has changed since our last event, but our commitment to everyone’s health and safety has not. The health and safety of participants and spectators is our top priority, and we look forward to producing a safe and meaningful race on Sunday.”


Abbott Chicago 5K – Saturday, October 9

The Abbott Chicago 5K will be on Saturday and will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Grant Park at Ida B. Wells Drive and Michigan Avenue. Thousands of runners will run a 3.1mile course through downtown, ending on LaSalle Street at Jackson Blvd.  Michigan Avenue north of Ida B. Wells will remain open. Parking restrictions are in place starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday along the route.  For more information visit.


Chicago Marathon Race Day Information for Participants and Runner Reunite

As race day approaches, event organizers strongly encourage participants to stay informed of race day conditions and be familiar with event rules and the color-coded Event Alert System (EAS), which will communicate the status of course and weather conditions to participants leading up to and on race day found here. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park. The first wave of runners will begin the race at 7:30 a.m. The second wave will begin at 8 a.m. The final group will begin at 8:35 a.m. The location for the Runner Reunite section will be along Columbus Drive adjacent to the Abbott 27.2 Fest.


Traffic Impacts/Street Closures

With thousands of participants and spectators along the route, as well as street closures prior and during the race, those traveling throughout downtown and the various neighborhoods should allow extra time, expect delays, or consider alternate routes–such as the expressway system–to avoid the impacts of the race.


Street closures in the Grant Park area began on Monday with the closure of Balbo from Columbus to DuSable Lake Shore Drive at 10 a.m. Additional street closures for race day at the start/finish line area can be expected through the weekend, including:

  • Thursday, October 7: Columbus Drive from Roosevelt to Ida B. Wells will close at 4 a.m. and reopen on Monday, October 11 at 6 a.m.
  • Friday, October 8: Columbus Drive from Ida B. Wells to Monroe will close at 4 a.m. and reopen on Sunday, October 10 at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 9: Columbus Drive from Randolph to Monroe Street will be closed at 6 a.m. and open on October 10 at noon.
  • All streets will be fully reopened by Monday, October 11 at 6 a.m.


Race day street closures along the route will begin at approximately 7 a.m. on Sunday, October 10 and are anticipated to be reopened by 4:30 p.m. or when it is deemed safe to do so. Visit link for Chicago Marathon Street Closures and Route.


Beginning early Sunday morning, parking restrictions will be in effect along the course. For public safety and traffic flow, the towing of vehicles along the route and other posted “No Parking Zones” will be strictly enforced. Motorists are encouraged to read signage before parking and should call 3-1-1 to locate a towed vehicle.


The following main thoroughfares, among others, will remain open:

  • DuSable Lake Shore Drive
  • Inner Lake Shore Drive will remain open from Diversey Parkway to Belmont Avenue. Access to DuSable Lake Shore Drive will remain open at Belmont.


Public Transportation

As always, public transportation is encouraged if heading to the Marathon or other destinations in the impacted areas. For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit or call 836-7000 from any area code/1-888-YOUR-CTA. Metra will offer extra service on race day. For specific schedule information, visit The City has worked with licensed Transportation Network Providers (TNP rideshare services) to ensure that pick-up and drop-off locations are available throughout the city, in geo-fenced areas that are a safe distance off the route.


Security Measures

Safety is always a primary concern and several security measures and restrictions that have been place for several years will be strictly enforced. Participants will be required to show an ID to obtain race packets at the Abbott Health and Fitness Expo prior to Sunday and must use race-issued clear bags to store their personal belongings during the race. Runners must enter the race staging area at one of the seven designated gateways in Grant Park through security checkpoints at Michigan Avenue near Congress Drive, Jackson Drive, Van Buren Street, Congress Boulevard, and Harrison Street.


“The Chicago Police Department has worked with our public safety partners, race organizers and businesses to ensure that this year’s Chicago Marathon is a secure, enjoyable event for everyone,” said Supt. David Brown.


Race organizers expect more than 1 million spectators to line city streets along the Marathon route. Chicago Police will be deploying uniformed and plainclothes officers as well as implementing other safety measures to ensure the event’s safety. Officers will also conduct random bag checks of spectators carrying backpacks or large bags. As in previous years, runners will not be allowed to leave unattended bags or clothing items within Grant Park or along the route. If officers or race officials see an unattended bag along the route, it will be collected and discarded.


Only participants displaying their event-issued bib numbers, credentialed event staff and ticketed guests (where applicable) will have access to the race start and finish areas within Grant Park. Spectators should be aware that they will not have access to these areas. Only registered runners are allowed to participate in the Marathon. Non-registered runners joining the race at any point throughout the route or finish line is prohibited and will be strictly enforced.


Spectators can support runners on race day along the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course at 15 designated cheer zones that includes State and Monroe (Mile 1.95), Franklin and Court (Mile 13.1), Cermak and Wentworth (Chinatown), Cermak and Archer (Mile 21.2) and Michigan and Roosevelt (Mile 26). For more information, including race-day restrictions and policies, visit the Marathon website at


Chicago White Sox Playoff Game

The ALDS Champion Chicago White Sox will be playing the Houston Astros on Sunday, October 10 at 7:07 p.m. at Guaranteed Rate Field, with lots opening at 3 p.m. The City of Chicago and Chicago Marathon organizers are working closely with the White Sox to ensure minimal impact. Additional information will be provided closer to game date.


If You See Something, Say Something

OEMC wants to remind the public to be aware of their surroundings report suspicious activity. If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1. If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. Additionally, over the past few weeks, the City’s public safety departments have met with property managers and security staff along the route to remind them about reporting suspicious activity and information on the Public Safety Camera Initiative, Pole Markers and more. They were also encouraged to join the CP3-FIMS initiative, which provides a centralized platform for the private sector and first responders to communicate critical information to first responders across all City agencies with the goal of saving time, life, and property during an emergency incident. 


Emergency, Traffic and Weather Notifications

OEMC will continue to monitor the event in collaboration with public safety partners and the Chicago Police Department will enforce race day restrictions along the route as well as facilitate traffic. OEMC will issue any alerts and notifications needed to keep residents and attendees up to date on weather conditions and emergencies.  Sign up for NotifyChicago alerts at OEMC also issues TEXT alerts for lakefront notices, issues affecting businesses or COVID-19 updates:


  • CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
  • CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
  • COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3


For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit the OEMC website at Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook (@coemc), Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911).


# # #