NOTE: NBC 5 will offer complete live coverage of the 2017 race beginning at 7 a.m. CT online and on TV. The race can be streamed live from around world on the NBC Chicago app, which will also offer a live stream of the finish line from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon isn't just for runners. It's also for the millions of people cheering them on from the sidelines.
When the race is over, it can be difficult for spectators to locate their loved ones in the chaos of thousands of exhausted and elated runners, but organizers are sharing their advice on the best way to find them.
Marathon organizers recommend spectators find their runners at the 27th Mile Post-Race Party/runner reunite area of Butler Field, near the start line at Columbus Drive and Jackson Drive.
The party is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with live music and more. Runners age 21 and over can redeem the tear-off portion of their bib number for one free 312 Urban Wheat Ale.
If you don't plan to watch your runner finish the race, it may be a good idea to arrive early and communicate with your runners beforehand about where exactly you'll wait.
To access the runner reunite area, spectators must pass through security and bag screening, so plan accordingly in case there are long lines.
The runner reunite area is located near the start and finish of the race, organized by alphabetical signs to facilitate meeting locations by name.
To view runners closest to the start line, marathon organizers recommend finding a spot on Grand Avenue between Columbus Drive and State Street or anywhere along State Street between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard.
To view runners closest to the finish line, arrive early and find a spot at the Bank of America Cheer Zone, which is located at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.
The viewing areas nearest Grant Park are the most convenient areas to meet runners after the race, but they can also be the most crowded. If you plan to stay near the park for the entirety of the race, arrive early and stake out a spot.