Chicago Marathon 2012

Anyone from the UK running Chicago this year? What about people who have already run Chicago? Post your questions and comments here about the event.

For me, I'm trying to figure out the best time and day to fly over, to minimise/get over any jet lag. Any seasoned marathon travellers able to share their tips on how to handle long flights?



  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I'm running Chicago this year. It'll be my 9th marathon, but first time running Chicago.

    I fly over from Glasgow on the Thursday. I've ran the Disney marathon in Florida twice having flown over a couple of days before the race with no ill affects. It's an early start for the marathon, so jet lag shouldn't be too much of an issue. In truth you don't want to shift too much from UK time as you'll be up early to eat pre-race anyway.

    Travel tips. Wear your race shoes on the flight. Put as much of your running gear in your hand luggage that you can. Drink plenty during the flight to stay hydrated.

  • That's a very excellent point you raised, Eggyh73. I just checked the starting time and it's 7:30 a.m. I'm more used to later starts myself, e.g. 9-10, plus the marathons I've normally run outside the UK are in continental Europe with a +1 hour difference to the UK. So I think I'll probably arrive in Chicago 2-3 days before race day, i.e. Thursday or Friday.

    Also have you found any reasonable accommodation in Chicago, preferably one that is close/walking distance to start and finish line?

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    It's an early start and as you'll be up early to eat before it I think arriving on the Thursday or Friday and having a couple of early nights and early starts will set you up well for the race day.

    I checked out the accomodation as soon as I knew the date for the marathon. I've booked a one bedroom apartment, which is fairly close to the start at Grant Park. The apartment is near Navy Pier. I booked it using I got a good deal on that, but I did notice the hotels in that area are very expensive for the marathon dates.

  • Okay, I checked out the Chicago Marathon website, and the cheapest accommodation recommendation is the Allerton Hotel (199USD per night), which is just over a mile away from Grant Park. I've just made a reservation there for 2 nights (Friday and Saturday).
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    That's not too far from where I'll be staying.

    What sort of time are you aiming for in Chicago?

  • I just ran 3:08 at Paris last Sunday which gives me good for age in London next year. I think I'll go for something under 3:05 at Chicago, which would be a Boston qualifying time. Would love to go sub 3 hours, but I think I need more training time to get that time. And yourself?
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I was in Paris last weekend too. I ran a 3:49, which was a PB and beat my target time by ten minutes. I'm currently thinking of aiming for a 3:45 for Chicago.

    I did do a google for the Chicago profile and apparently it looks something like this:


  • Wow, small world. Yes I heard Chicago is flat and fast, but also carries unpredictable weather conditions. Some runners have said Paris is flat and fast, but it was anything but flat.
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I liked the course in Paris. It did have lots of gentle inclines and declines, but no real hills in it. I'm used to running on far more hilly terrain.

    I've heard the weather can be unpredictable for this one. I hope to strike lucky twice this year as the conditions last weekend were pretty much perfect for me.

  • I'm running Chicago as a first marathon, running from coral D aiming for 4 hours, was planning on thursday to tuesday with hotel booked around 4 miles from the start but right next to an el train stop
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    Gary - Should be a good race for a first marathon. I'll be in Chicago Thursday to Monday, then heading down to NYC for a few days.

  • Thanks some good tips on this thread already, have been to Chicago before, its a lovely city and wanted a big race as a first marathon, when's everyone starting their Chicago training proper?
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I'm currently planning on doing an 18 week training plan, so begining of June for me.

    I've been to Chicago before, but it was 1997 so I'm sure it's changed a bit since then!

  • OH and I did this one a few years ago and it was a blazing hot day, the previous year it had been snowy, so the weather can be very unpredictable.  It is a wonderful event.

    The jetlag will work in your favour!  You will be jumping out of bed ready for brekkie while the locals are bleary eyedimage.  Just make sure you stay hydrated on the flight.

    The course was very enjoyable and the support amazing.  Chicago really embraces the marathon and I don't think there were any dull sections of the course.  Memorable highlights were the 'military fairies' and drag queens dancing and singing in Boystown, college students offering beer, margaritas etc in the student district, the many many houses with music blasting out and parties happening outside. 

    If you want to turn it into a two centre holiday, also worth thinking about the trains.  Chicago is the main Amtrak hub and we booked a sleeper train to Washington after the race.  Amazing scenery, good food and interesting company - the train went through Pennsylvania, so quite a few Amish travelling.  Pretty reasonably priced as well.   We are planning to do Chicago again in the next few years and will do the sleeper train to Sacramento afterwards, to make it an even more adventurous break! 

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭
    Rosemary - Thanks for the report, sounds like you had a great time. I'm really looking forward to this one after having a wonderful time in Paris last weekend.
  • Eggy,  you'll have a great time, I'm very jealous.
  • Hi guys, is there anyone on this thread who has run Chicago before? I am thinking about signing up for a place through the International travel partners but am a bit concerned about the weather (heat/humidity). Have only done one marathon (London this year) and will be out there for around 4 and a half hours, more if it's very hot. Not sure whether to just go for it and hope for a cool day. Any thoughts anyone?
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I've not ran Chicago before, but the weather is really pot luck. Looking at recent years they've had both extremely warm days and bitterly cold days on the day of the marathon.

  • Yes, so I've heard. Think I may book it and hope for the best! Are you joining the 3:45 Nike pacer group? I tried to use the pacers in London and managed to stick with the 10 min/ mile pacer for the best part of 17 miles before it all went wrong! I might try again as in Chicago as they have many more pacer groups spread every 10 minutes or so, although it seems to have to register with them at the expo.
  • you have to register at the expo, the groups are free and you need to go to the expo to pick up your race pack and number anyway so it shouldn't be to much of a hassle, i was planning on doing it, however if you dont and just turn up on the day guess they can't stop you running with them!

    has anyone else registered for a seeded start yet? dont exactly need the time of a kenyan (a half faster than around 1hr 52) I thought it'd be worth it for a less congested start


  • Yes, I did think it was a little strange that you need to register since they can hardly object if you just find the pacer and run along near them! Apparently they give you a special bib which identifies you to that group and helps others keep track of the right group I suppose. Do you happen to know how far the expo is from say the Grant Park area? I am not planning to arrive until Friday night, so it will have to be Saturday for the expo visit. Expect it will be madly busy by then. I think you would be wise to get into a faster corral if you have the qualifying time as the less congestion the better. I was with the 10 min mile pacer in London and it took the best part of 15 minutes to get to the start.
  • how did you find london? done many marathons before? the expo is around 5 miles, still in the city centre and im sure there'll be plenty of other people heading that way, transport should be easy enough

    the corrals seem the way to go, crossing the line with 4000 people, rather than 1 of 35,000 in the general start, also the pace teams below 4 hours start from the seeded start corals so if your going to aim for one of these you might find yourself struggling to catch up at the start from the open start

  • London this year was my first ....and it was going to be my last! Swore I would never put myself through that again but only a few days later, I'm signing up for the ballot! And Brighton .....and Chicago! Actually London wasn't too bad, all went well enough for the first 19/20 miles, then it went a bit pear shaped! Legs refused to work, pace slowed to a walk/ slow jog and my under 4.30 finish turned into 4.39. Then I spent the next few hours being very sick! So, I have unfinished business with the marathon. Plus I need to look carefully at my training and hydration/ refuelling plans to try and prevent the same thing happening again. But before any of that I need to sort out my calf muscle (minor strain) with a bit of rest and tlc before launching into the next round of training image
  • How's the training going for any of you Chicago Marathoners?? Only 12 weeks to go now, so should be well into it! I am bringing my mileage up slowly, so now at 32 for last week. Did an interval session on the beach this morning (weather windy but no rain at least!) which was hard work on the sand. 14 miles scheduled for tomorrow, with a late start as we have the Olympic torch coming to town at 9am, so can't miss that!
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    My training is starting to get there, lost a bit early on due to having a cold. It was 18 miles for me this morning and that hurt. Got my first 20 planned for next weekend. Think my fitness from running Paris earlier in the year is helping.

    How is your calf muscle? Be careful with that. I did mine last summer and was out for weeks.

  • Funny you should mention the calf muscle, Eggyh73 as it's a little tight today image actually they both are, but I'm putting that down to the beach intervals on Saturday. Did 6 miles early this morning, went to see the Olympic torch relay in town ( ran there) and then did the remaining 8 miles on my schedule. Legs didn't really want to get going again, but I ran the second section with my daughter ( who is training for a half iron man later this year) so she kept me going. Then did 10 minutes in an ice bath when I got home to help the calves! Well, that's another week of training in the bag without too much trouble, so all good.

    How many 20 milers do you have planned before Chicago? I only did 1 last time round ( London, my first marathon) and it wasnt enough!! Think I might try and get in 2 or 3 this time.
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I'm planning on doing the same as I did for Paris this year, so that's 3 x 20, 1 x 21 and 1 x 22. In the past I've done three or four, but after smashing my target time for Paris I'm working on a don't change what worked theory.

    That was a great time for your first marathon, far better than my 5:16 at Disney back in 2007. I got that down to 3:49 in Paris this year, but that was marathon number 8 for me.

    For the calf just make sure you get stretching it plenty. It did take a while before I felt like I could trust to push on mine again after tearing the muscle last summer, but thankfully these days it's not been causing me any further issues.


  • Have had a funny week of training this wek with things not really going to plan. Was away for three days for my daughter's graduation and tried not to play catch up, but ended up doing a double session on Thursday so my diary didn't look too awful image Had a hills session with the club this morning, then went to yoga, and summer seems to have arrived at last so a pretty good day. There's 16 miles on the plan for tomorrow so am setting off at 7.30am to get underway before the day disappears. The grandchildren arrive tomorrow for a holiday so next week will no doubt be mayhem and yet another challenge to stick to the schedule!

    I would love to think my marathon times could improve as much as yours Eggyh73; they really are amazing!! My first priority for Chicago is just to try and avoid the horrible last 6 miles I had in London. Better pacing is going to be my motto!!
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    I got my first 20 mile LSR in for Chicago yesterday. I must admit that last couple of miles really hurt. Glad to have that one done and dusted.

    You're times will improve. The more you do the more you find out what works for you and waht to avoid.

Sign In or Register to comment.