Thousands of runners are preparing to hit city streets Sunday for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, marking a triumphant return after the global coronavirus pandemic canceled the race last year.
For the first time in more than 700 days, runners will take to Chicago roadways for the biggest and most prominent race in the city.
This year's race will be a comeback celebration, but it will also feature some exceptional racers, including Reuben Kipyego, the second-fastest man in 2021, Olympian and past marathon champion Galen Rupp, Kenyan sensation Ruth Chepngetich and Sara Hall, who will be making a comeback in more ways than one as she looks to break a big record in this year's race.
And while much of the race will feel like a return to normalcy, bringing pride and inspiration to Chicago, it will also come with some new guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
Among the requirements will be vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test, masking in certain areas and more.
Runners will not only have to contend with each other, they'll also be facing unseasonably warm temperatures Sunday that will make conditions challenging.
At 7 a.m. at the starting line, conditions are expected to be in the mid to upper 60s and dry, but as the day progresses, temperatures will warm.
With both humidity and temperatures rising, runners can expect the warm conditions to be well-above average, rising into the upper 70s and low 80s throughout the day, though runners will have the added benefit of being along the lakefront, where cooler temps are typically reported.
Other major races usually conducted in the spring across the U.S. have also rescheduled for this fall, making it an exciting time for runners.
Bank of America Chicago Marathon Race Director Carey Pinkowski acknowledged that hosting the Chicago race during an Olympic year, coupled with a fall racing season that includes all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, adds to the excitement of the city's beloved race.
Several athletes in the elite wheelchair competition will compete back-to-back, in Chicago on Oct. 10 and Boston on Oct. 11, with Daniel Romanchuk, Marcel Hug and Tatyana McFadden planning to complete the double.