NOTE: NBC 5 will offer complete live coverage of the 2018 race beginning at 7 a.m. CT online and on TV Oct. 7. 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.
Cheering on a runner in this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon? You're certainly not alone.
But if you're looking for the best chance to see your favorite runner along the route, we've got you covered.
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.
Runners and spectators should plan to meet in Grant Park on Columbus Drive after the race.
Official Cheer Zones
Bank of America Cheer Zones – Miles 13.7 and 26
Cheer items will be provided to help you support your runners, and you'll be encouraged to “high-five” runners as a way of motivating and celebrating their journey to the finish, organizers said. The Mile 13.7 Cheer Zone will be located on Monroe and Jeff erson Streets (two blocks from Union Station). The Mile 26 Cheer Zone is near the finish line at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.
Merrill Lynch Cheer Zone
Head to the Merrill Lynch Cheer Zone to grab a bull bell and join the DJ encouraging runners as they make their way through the West Loop. The Merrill Lynch Cheer Zone is located at Mile 17.1 (Halsted Street and Jackson Boulevard).
U.S. Trust Cheer Zone
Come make some noise and cheer on the runners, giving them an extra push of motivation for the second half of the race. The U.S. Trust Cheer Zone is located at Mile 13.7 on Jefferson Street between Monroe and Adams Streets.
Charity block party
Thousands of Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants are running and fundraising on behalf of important local, national and global causes. To celebrate the impact these participants make, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will host a Charity Block Party near Mile 15. Spectators, family and friends are welcome to cheer on their charity runners at the Charity Block Party located at Adams Street and Loomis Street near Whitney Young High School.
A complete list of official cheer zones can be found here.
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.
Grand Red Line Station – Miles 1, 3 and 12.5
Board a Red Line train and exit at Grand Ave. (Mile 1). Walk three blocks west to LaSalle St. (Mile 3) and four blocks west to Wells St. (Mile 12.5).
Monroe Red Line Station – Mile 2
Board a Red Line train and exit at Monroe St.
Chicago Red Line Station – Miles 3.5 and 12.25
Board a Red Line train and exit at Chicago Ave. Walk three blocks west to LaSalle St. (mile 3.5) and four blocks west to Wells St. (Mile 12.25).
Clark/Division Red Line Station – Miles 4 and 12
Board a Red Line train and exit at LaSalle St. (Mile 4). Walk one block west to Wells St. (Mile 12).
Sheridan Red Line Station – Mile 8
Board a Red Line train and exit at Sheridan Rd. Walk four blocks east to Broadway.
Addison Red Line Station – Mile 8.5
Board a Red Line train and exit at Addison St. Walk four blocks east to Broadway.
Sedgwick Brown Line Station – Mile 11
Board a Brown Line train and exit at Sedgwick St. Walk a half-block north to North Ave.
Washington/Wells Elevated Station (Brown, Pink or Orange Line) – Mile 13.5
Board any Brown, Pink or Orange Line train and exit at Washington/Wells. Walk one block west on Washington St. to Franklin St.
UIC-Halsted Blue Line Station – Miles 14.25 and 17
Board a Blue Line train and exit at UIC-Halsted. Use the Halsted St. exit or Morgan St. exit and walk two blocks north to Adams St. to view the runners at Mile 14.25 in Greektown. Or use the Halsted St. or Morgan St. exit and walk one block north to Jackson Blvd. (Mile 17).
18th Pink Line Station – Mile 19
Board a Pink Line train and exit at 18th St. Walk four blocks east to Loomis St.
Cermak-Chinatown Red Line Station – Mile 21.5
Board a Red Line train and exit at Cermak-Chinatown.
Sox-35th Red Line Station – Mile 23 and 23.25
Board a Red Line train and exit at Sox-35th. Use the 33rd St. exit (Mile 23) or walk two blocks east on 35th St. to State St. (Mile 23.25).
35th-Bronzeville-IIT Green Line Station – Mile 23 and 23.25
Board a Green Line train and exit at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT. Use the 33rd St. exit (Mile 23) or 35th St. exit (Mile 23.25).
Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line Station – Mile 25
Board a Green Line train and exit at Cermak-McCormick Place. Walk two blocks east to Michigan Ave.
Roosevelt (Red, Green and Orange Line) Station – Finish Line
Board a Red, Green or Orange Line train and exit at Roosevelt Rd. Walk east on Roosevelt Rd. toward the Museum Campus/Grant Park.
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 4 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.