October 9, 2019

Chicago officials and race organizers prepare for the 42nd annual Bank Of America Chicago marathon and provide traffic impact and safety measure updates

5K race planned for Saturday; Grant Park street closures begin this week for Marathon

CHICAGO – City of Chicago officials and Bank of America Chicago Marathon organizers are reminding the public about the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 13, when more than 45,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries are expected to travel through 29 neighborhoods for the 26.2-mile race, requiring street closures and parking restrictions throughout the route.  Plans are in place for a safe and successful Chicago Marathon weekend, which includes the Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K on Saturday and residents, spectators, participants and motorists are urged to be mindful of the traffic impacts as well as safety measures in place for these events. 

"The City of Chicago continuously works with the race organizers and our law enforcement partners in the planning and execution of the Marathon, in an effort to minimize impacts while making it the safest event possible for Chicago residents and visitors,” said Executive Director Rich Guidice of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). “We also ask the public’s assistance in reporting any suspicious or criminal activity to 9-1-1.”

As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the iconic event generates $338 million for the Chicago economy annually, and since 2002 has helped to raise millions of dollars for various charitable causes. 

After a year’s long planning process in partnership with the City of Chicago we are ready for 26.2 miles of urban roadway to become a global platform for incredible athletic performances,” said Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “Sunday will be a safe and memorable day for so many who have spent the last few months preparing to do their very best.  We are deeply appreciative of the countless City agencies who help us execute a world-class event.”

Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K

The Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K will be on Saturday, October 12 and will begin at 7:30 am at Daley Plaza. Seven thousand runners will run a 3.1 mile course through downtown, ending in an area near the Chicago Marathon finish line. For more information visit chicago5K.com.

Race Day Information for Participants and Runner Reunite

As race day approaches, it is recommended to stay informed and be familiar with weather conditions and the color-coded Event Alert System (EAS), which will communicate the status of course conditions to participants leading up to and on race day.  The race starts and finishes in Grant Park, and the first wave begins at 7:30 am, followed by the next group at 8:00 a.m., and the final group will begin at 8:35 am.

The location for the Runner Reunite section will be along Columbus Drive adjacent to the 27th Mile Post-Race Party.

Traffic Impacts/Street Closures

With thousands of participants and spectators along the route, as well as street closures prior and during the race, those traveling throughout downtown and the various neighborhoods should allow extra time, expect delays or consider alternate routes – such as the expressway system - to avoid the impacts of the race.  Download a 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon course map here.

Street closures in the Grant Park area began on Monday, October 7, with the closure of Balbo from Columbus to Lake Shore Drive at 10 a.m.  Additional street closures in the race day start/finish line area can be expected thereafter, including on Tuesday when the Balbo closure is extended to Michigan Avenue and on Wednesday when Jackson closes from Columbus to Lake Shore Drive.  Columbus closures begin Thursday, October 10, with Roosevelt to Congress closed at 4 a.m. and Congress to Monroe closing on Friday, October 11 at 4 am. On Saturday, the Columbus closure extends to Randolph at 6 am and Monroe Street from Michigan Ave. to Lake Shore Drive will be closed at noon.  In addition, street closures along the route will begin at approximately 7 am on Sunday and are anticipated to be reopened by 4:30 pm or when it is deemed safe to do so. Full lists of street closures and race day routes are available here.

Beginning early Sunday morning, parking restrictions will be in effect along the course.  For public safety and traffic flow, the towing of vehicles along the route and other posted “No Parking Zones” will be strictly enforced.  Motorists are encouraged to read signage before parking and should call 3-1-1 to locate a towed vehicle. 


As always, public transportation is encouraged if heading to the Marathon or other destinations in the impacted areas.  For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit www.transitchicago.com or call 836-7000 from any area code/1-888-YOUR-CTA.

The City has worked with licensed Transportation Network Providers (rideshare services) to ensure that pick-up and drop-off locations are available throughout the city, in geo-fenced areas that are a safe distance off the route.

Security Measures

Safety is always a primary concern and several security measures and restrictions that have been place for several years will be strictly enforced.  Participants will be required to show an ID to obtain race packets and must use race-issued clear bags to store their personal belongings during the race. Runners must enter the race staging area at one of the seven designated gateways in Grant Park through security checkpoints at Michigan Avenue near Congress Drive, Jackson Drive, Van Buren Street, Congress Boulevard, and Harrison Street.

"The Chicago Police Department has worked with organizers, businesses along the route, race participants and volunteers to ensure the Chicago Marathon is once again a fun, safe event for all involved,” said Deputy Chief Eric Carter.

Race organizers expect more than 1 million spectators to line city streets along the Marathon route.  Chicago Police will be deploying uniformed and plainclothes officers as well as implementing other safety measures to ensure the event’s safety. Officers will also conduct random bag checks of spectators carrying backpacks or large bags. As in the previous year, runners will not be allowed to leave unattended bags or clothing items within Grant Park or along the route. If officers or race officials see an unattended bag along the route, it will be collected and discarded.

Only participants displaying their event-issued bib numbers, credentialed event staff and ticketed guests (where applicable) will have access to the race start and finish areas within Grant Park. Spectators should be aware that they will not have access to these areas. Only registered runners are allowed to participate in the Marathon. Non-registered runners joining the race at any point throughout the route or finish line is prohibited and will be strictly enforced. For more information, including race-day restrictions and policies, visit the Marathon website at www.chicagomarathon.com.

Over the past few weeks, the City’s public safety departments have met with property managers and security staff along the route to remind them about reporting suspicious activity and to inform them about connecting with the City’s federated camera network. They were also encouraged to join the CP3 initiative, which provides a centralized platform for the private sector and first responders to communicate critical information to first responders across all City agencies with the goal of saving time, life and property during an emergency incident. 

OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions and the Chicago Police Department will enforce race day restrictions along the route as well as facilitate traffic.  The public is encouraged to follow OEMC on Twitter at the handle @ChicagoOEMC for race-related alerts and register for free emergency alerts from the City of Chicago, which include severe weather notifications, by subscribing to NotifyChicago at www.notifychicago.org.

If You See Something, Say Something

The City reminds the public to be aware of their surroundings report suspicious activity.  If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1.  If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.

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