by Chris MacLeod
These days, it’s virtually impossible to pick a marathon everyone can agree on. San Antonio is too hot, Boston is too exclusive, Canada is too friendly…we’ve heard it all! And we’re sure you can think of reasons why Chicago is not “the best” choice for Rogue’s 2016 Fall Marathon. Allow us to present our reasons why it absolutely 100% is!
- Get the PR without the passport. After four trips to Vancouver and one to Toronto, we really do love Canada. But…it’s freaking expensive to get there! (Who else had to shell out $80 at that Express Passport place on Rio Grande?) Not only does Chicago have a famously flat, PR-friendly course, it also has the highly attractive feature of being situated in the Continental US. AND, Chicago has not one but two international airports! Direct flights FTW!
- You won’t have to twist arms to get your support crew on board. Yeah, we all think it would be awesome finish a marathon on Hayward Field. But do you know any non-runner who’s heard of Eugene, Oregon? (And no, it doesn’t count if you forced everyone to watch Pre at the last family movie night.) Chicago is a city you would totally plan a trip to without the excuse of a marathon. Historic sites, loads of museums, pro teams in all five* major sports…pack up the kids, we’re headed to the Windy City!
- You can Über everywhere. Or you can roll like a true Chicagoan on the CTA. Seriously, Chicago might just be the most navigable city in the US, and there is zero need for a car. The El train is not only historically interesting, it will also get you from Midway Airport to Downtown for 6 bucks!
- You hate hills. Chicago has one hill. ONE. It’s practically a speed bump. Running up 45th street during 3M is 10 times harder than Chicago’s one teeny-weeny little hill.
- The half marathoners won’t eat all the bananas. Because there IS no half in Chicago! Everyone who’s in it is IN IT. And that is freaking inspiring!
- No one’s suing Chicago over their lottery. Yeah, lotteries suck. Two guys in Utah are so mad over New York’s lottery that they’re suing! Alas, lotteries are a fact of life for major marathons. Still, Chicago isn’t as bad as it could be. In 2015, NYC only let in 18% of its lottery pool. Chicago let in 53%. That’s 1 in 2 odds! And on the off chance your friends get in and you don’t, there are loads of wonderful charities who will give you a number in exchange for a little fundraising. Or you can run sub-3:15/3:45 to qualify on time. We promise, it’s really not that hard to get in to Chicago!
- For the perfect first-timer experience. Crowd support, crowd support, crowd support! No matter how slow you think you are, you will never be alone on the Chicago Marathon course. And you won’t be kicked off it either. At 6 hours and 30 minutes, Chicago has one of the most generous time limits in the business. (And they’ll let you finish on the sidewalks if you can’t make that.)
- No out-and-backs!
- To experience the best logistics in marathoning. Race director Carey Pinkowski has been doing this job for 26 years. The course hasn’t changed in 10 years. The expo is staffed by thousands, the corrals run smoothly, and there are TWENTY aid stations. Chicago organizers have this stuff figured out.
- Ain’t no party like a Rogue party! If you’ve never been on a Rogue trip, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Nothing can compare to taking on the challenge of the marathon with all the people you laughed, cried, and sweat with over five months of training. And if that’s not enough for you, Steve Sisson, aka “The Original Rogue”, aka the reason the Rogue Fuel Bar has the best craft beer selection on 5th street, is leading this whole shebang. It will be an epic run, and it will be an EPIC party!
Chicago 2016. Training starts April 30. Be there. #JFR
* Wikipedia includes soccer as the 5th major American professional team sport.