Ready, set, Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2021! Training begins Monday for the Chicago Marathon as race officials continue preparing for the return of 35,000 runners to the city's streets.
Runners typically train for 18 weeks in the lead-up to the October race.
"Over the next 18 weeks our team will be hard at work, much like our participants, preparing for the return of the event," Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon executive race director said in a statement. "After a year without a major marathon, it feels great to know the start line is once again in our sights."
This year's event could come with some changes, however, as organizers say they continue to work with health officials in the city to create a "safe and enjoyable experience" for participants in the Oct. 10 race.
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Race officials said they are working on multiple operational plans for the 2021 event, including ways to address a "rapidly changing public health environment." Updated guidance for runners is expected to be released in August.
"Scenario planning is a fundamental component of a successful health and safety strategy for a major city marathon," Dr. George Chiampas, Bank of America Chicago Marathon medical director and Northwestern Medicine’s director of event and community preparedness said in a statement. "This year presents a unique situation, but we are fortunate to work side by side with leaders in the public and private sectors who are committed to taking a measured approach that is in line
with the latest data and science."
Organizers have already told registered participants to be prepared for "adjustments to mitigate the spread of coronavirus." Such measures include wearing a mask while not running on the marathon course during race weekend and providing proof of a negative COVID test or completed vaccination series prior to the event.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has long been one of our city's most exciting events for runners and onlookers alike—making last year's decision to cancel it all the more difficult," Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in a statement. "Now, thanks to the progress we've made in our COVID-19 journey, we will be able to bring back this Chicago staple and welcome thousands of marathoners and fans back to our streets this fall."