DO get a hotel room downtown with a river view! Then be prepared for waves upon waves upon waves of people running the marathon to pass by. As well, you’ll be within walking distance to some of the best restaurants in Chicago.
DO take a River Boat Tour to check out the buildings, around downtown. You will be awestruck.
DO visit the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park and touch it. Perhaps for good luck? Or to summon the mother ship? I don’t know why, just touch it. It’s cool.
DO attend the pre-race pasta dinner. It is important to be in the atmosphere of all the other runners who are freaking out just as bad as you. Not to mention, the food is to die for! Best carb-load ever!
DO attend the race expo, but preferably on the Friday as opposed to the Saturday before the race. You will be on your feet for hours, whereby fatiguing your legs and feet, in which case you can kiss your PR goodbye (if you attend on Saturday).
DO wear training gear or running clothes everywhere you go. It makes you stand out from anyone else who might possibly not be running the race that weekend (however, as there are some 45,000 runners, the chance of that happening is highly unlikely).
DO sight-see at night. You’ll see Chicago in a whole different light.
DO partake in Happy Hour at a fun little bar like D4 Irish Pub near Columbus and Grand. It’s a must after the marathon to wear your race shirt and well-earned medal… you get a free Mimosa. This also allows for runners to hook-up, high five, congratulate each other and compare notes.
DO check your ego and leave it at home. There are 45,000 other people running the exact same race, trying to achieve their own personal goal, and unless you have your actual name printed on your bib and not a number and are in the first stall, you are no better than anyone else on that course. DO support, cheer, and encourage your fellow runners every chance you can. They will need and appreciate it. This also holds true for the upcoming New York City Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon.
DO have fun. The great people of Chicago are genuinely excited and happy for every runner out there. It’s an experience like no other, so DO treasure it.
While I didn’t personally run the race, my husband did and managed a PR despite the great heat that was making people collapse left and right. I’m very proud of him and his accomplishment and achieving his hard-earned goal. I also had a fantastic experience in Chicago even being a spectator. They definitely know how to do it up right in that town!!
DO visit 50 in 50 Marathon Quest to read all about the Chicago Marathon from a runner’s perspective.