Chicago Marathon (2020)

Race Status

July 13

2020 Event Cancellation

On Monday, July 13, event organizers and the City of Chicago announced the decision to cancel the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and all race weekend activities in response to the ongoing public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In regard to the unique set of circumstances surrounding the decision to cancel the 2020 race, the event has put into place an exception to our standard event policies. Each registered participant will have the option to receive a refund for their 2020 race entry or to defer their place and entry fee to a future edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (2021, 2022 or 2023).

2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon registered participants will be contacted via email with additional information and the opportunity to select one of the following options.

On December 12th on my way to a holiday breakfast at work, my email chimed with the following note:

Congratulations! Your application for an entry to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been selected. Log into your participant account to manage your events, update your personal settings, buy products and much more!

Your entry is valid for your participation only in the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and cannot be transferred. Your entry fee cannot be refunded.

Thus began a ten month journey to get to the start line of yet another marathon, in a city where I'd never been, for a race distance I swore to myself I'd never run again. What could go wrong? At this point, nothing... I hope.

July 12, 2020

The inevitable. A shoe has finally dropped.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that for the last 2 months I’ve been refreshing my email and poking through social media to get some sense of if the marathon will be run or not.

As I write this, and avoiding as much political finger pointing as possible, the United States has royally screwed the pooch with respect to this pandemic. The country is spiraling out of control, and in no way do I feel safe even transiting through there let alone visiting for a weekend and running a marathon with 40,000 other people. Literally millions of people are sick and dying, and it has become a small wonder that one of the last holdouts for putting runner safety ahead of race profits turned out to be the one marathon I was registered for: Chicago.

So which shoe dropped? The airline apparently is more concerned with my health than a fitness organization. Our inbound US flights were cancelled this morning and the booking agency called us to offer a travel credit — which we took, obviously.

So while I am still — technically — registered to run Chicago in October, I have no way to get there, no where to stay if I got there, and no real intention of looking for either.

I may have another update when Chicago Marathon does the responsible thing and pulls the plug on the race and offers an alternative plan or refund, but seven months to the day of receiving that delightful (if terrifying) confirmation of my entry, five months after booking our trip, I can say with near absolute certainty there will be no running a marathon in the windy city for me this fall.

March 3, 2020

So, the latest thing is that some races —ie Tokyo — have been cancelled around the world and whose to say if that’s a temporary panic or a long-term impact of a viral pandemic. In Tokyo, only elites are able to run this year blocking thousands of casual athletes from even touching that starting line.

This whole coronavirus thing may blow over, and right now I’m gonna forge full steam ahead on the training until I hear otherwise, but there is a non-zero chance that any race this coming year could be called off for health and safety reasons... including big races like Chicago. It’s not ideal: see the note below about non-refundable travel plans. I don’t want to come off as callous towards the health of my fellow humans, but I’ve booked a helluvalotta international trips this year and it’s looking like it would have been a good season to stay close to home and health insurance.

The other side of that coin is simply staying healthy. Getting sick with that particular bug would have huge impacts to any training I would be planning, likely putting a two-month dent in a marathon training program, potentially irrecoverably from a race perspective.

Likely? Unlikely? Who can say at this point, but I’m documenting it nonetheless, even if it turns into a nothingburger.

February 11, 2020

It’s on. We booked our hotel and flights last night. Non-refundable. No looking back.

Backup: yeah, two month after I rolled lucky in the race lottery we’re just now booking flights. Right. That’s correct. ‘Cause in my head I was pondering the possibility that this was a great big maybe on the race roster. Back in December the value proposition for a weekend in Chicago, flights and folly for three people (the Kid will be a teenager, officially, by then) was scoping somewhere around holy crap and #wtf. Marathon weekend room rates were looking to set us back triple the rack rate, and flights were unjustifiably expensive or multi-day multi-leg layover marathons of a different sort. My marathon was looking to cost us net about twenty-five hundred shiny Canadian dollars per day.

Fast forward. Pica and Lucas (also entered) were considering a Plan B for me where I brought a sleeping bag or stowed away in their luggage. Consequently we dove a little deeper into Plan A last night, found a flight package with a-still-expensive but slightly-better-value-prop, added a day to each end of the trip, and smoothed the math to a much more reasonable grand per day (plus DDP allowance.)

Long story short(er) the flights and hotels are locked, the race entry is paid, and the deal is done. Training seems a wee bit more official this morning.