Chicago Marathon 2012: What to Watch for at Sunday's Marquee Event

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2012

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 10: Thousands of runners participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon October 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya won the mens and Liliya Shobukhova of the Russian Federation won the womens. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
Jim Prisching/Getty Images

Sunday marks the 35th running of the Chicago Marathon presented by Bank Of America, and the excitement over the annual event is through the roof.

With over 45,000 participants and an estimated 1.7 million spectators, Chicago’s marathon remains one of the largest in the world and one of the most prestigious.

As Sunday’s event approaches, it’s time to find out what we should be watching for during this marquee 26.2 mile race.


When: Sunday, October 7

Start Time: 8:30 a.m. ET

Watch: NBC 5 Chicago

Listen: 670 The Score Sports Radio

Official Website:


The Route

Chicago may be known as the Second City, but there are few places on earth as beautiful as the 26.2 mile course that the runners will race this Sunday.

With the course extending through the majority of the city, fans and runners alike will be able to take in the sites while following one of the most storied races in the world.

Fans are allowed to cheer on the runners from almost anywhere on the course, giving this race a very unique feeling that can’t be duplicated outside of Chi-town.

Whether you’re a Chicago native or visiting for the first time, watching the marathon and traveling the course is a great way to experience all the city offers.


The Stars

With the 2012 Summer Olympics just a few months ago, many of the stars that went to London to support their countries or just missed out on their opportunity to do so will be back at the Chicago Marathon, ready to prove their worth.

The biggest names in the sport will be participating like Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede, fourth-place finisher in the 10,000 meter race at the London Olympics Werknesh Kidane, 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir and three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova.

This year’s marathon has arguably the deepest field in the history of the event, so expect some serious fireworks Sunday on the streets of Chicago.

Fans will be treated to the biggest stars in the sport.


The People

While the focus will be on the stars racing Sunday, the real highlights of this event are the patrons that flood the streets in support of the athletes and of each other.

In its 35th year of operation, the Chicago Marathon has always been one of the biggest events in the United States, but it has taken on a life of its own over the last decade.

Not only are the fans from Chicago devoted, the fitness enthusiasts that travel across the country to watch and support the runners make the race the spectacle it has become.

Sunday will be a great day for everyone, but even the racers will acknowledge that without the diehard following of the fans, the sport of marathon running would be nothing.

Chi-town will be out in force, and it will be amazing to watch.