Spectator's Guide to 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Are you cheering on a runner? Here is some important information to know

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. 

More than 1.7 million spectators are set to cheer on thousands of Bank of America Chicago Marathon runners on Oct. 8.

Are you cheering on a runner? Here is some important information to know:

Spectator Viewing Areas

Race advisors warn that just as in past years, spectators will not have access to the start and finish areas of the race. These areas remain accessible only to participants with event-issued bib numbers.

To view your runner as close to the start of the race as possible, marathon coordinators advise watching from Grand Avenue between Columbus Drive and State Street. Anywhere along State Street between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard will also provide visibility. These areas are located near Mile 1.

To view runners closest to the finish line, check out the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. A complete list of official cheer zones can be found here.

Runners and spectators should plan to meet in Grant Park on Columbus Drive after the race.

How to Get There

Spectators can access 18 different viewing areas along the course via CTA 'L' trains the morning of the race. Cheer zones are located at various stops along the Red, Orange, Brown, Blue, Green and Pink lines.

In addition, viewers can coordinate their travel plans with the approximate times runners will be arriving at each cheer zone.

Schedule of Events

Marathon Wheelchair Start: 7:20 a.m.

Marathon Handcycle Start: 7:21 a.m.

Athletes with Disabilities Start: 7:23 a.m.

Wave 1 Start: 7:30 a.m.

Wave 2 Start: 8 a.m.

Wave 3 Start: 8:35 a.m.

Spectator access to Grant Park: 9:30 a.m.

27th Mile Post-Race Party in Grant Park, Butler Field: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

How to Find Your Runner Post-Race

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. 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 runner 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.

Viewers at Home

NBC 5 Chicago and Telemundo Chicago will provide live television broadcasts starting at 7 a.m.

NBC 5 Chicago and Telemundo Chicago will also live-stream the marathon from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The live streams will be available at nbcchicago.com and telemundochicago.com, as well as the NBC Chicago and Telemundo Chicago apps.

Both station websites and apps will provide a live stream of the finish line until 3 p.m. 

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