Thousands of runners participate in 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

New men's marathon world record set at this year's race

Christian Piekos Image
Sunday, October 8, 2023
Thousands of runners participate in Chicago Marathon
The 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon kicked off Sunday. Thousands of runners lined up as street closures were already in place on the route.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of runners took part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday.

A flood of runners trotted together on a brisk fall morning, making noise on the streets of Chicago.

SEE ALSO | Kelvin Kiptum sets new unofficial men's marathon world record at Chicago Marathon

The historic race is personal for every runner.

"I had cancer a few years ago, so this is a big victory to be able to actually run it," runner Janet Zavrel said.

Nearly 50,000 runners from all 50 states and 100 countries pounded pavement for 26.2 miles. The route weaved through 29 of the city's diverse neighborhoods.

SEE ALSO | St. Gertrude Catholic Parish's Father Michael Bradley to run 50th marathon at 70 years old

"It goes through the city, you see the entire city of Chicago and it's a great atmosphere out here," runner Olivia Zavrel said.

Family and friends cheered on their loved ones along the route, giving the inspiring and hard-working runners a much needed morale boost along the way.

One group present was the Anders family from west suburban Glen Ellyn, and they were impossible to miss with their bright orange cone hats.

"I was looking for something that would stand out, I wanted her to be able to notice us," said Reed Anders, who stood at the intersection of State and Lake to cheer on his wife who was running the race for her second time.

SEE ALSO | Charity runners to participate in Chicago Marathon to raise awareness for suicide prevention

"She's been training really hard," Anders said. "She and a group of people are running to support a great cause, to raise money and awareness for a charity called Phil's Friends."

Guerrero-Diaz and her family came from the city's Garfield Ridge neighborhood dressed up like Mario characters to cheer him on.

"We are very, very proud," said spectator Monica Guerrero-Diaz, whose brother ran in the race. "He's gone through a lot. It's the thing that he enjoys."

SEE ALSO | Area native to run 1st Bank of America Chicago marathon after losing over 200 pounds

"It is amazing," Guerrero-Diaz said. "I mean, just seeing people running by doing the things I can't do, but then also the power ups, seeing the energy they have when they hit that powerup, it's just exciting for us."

The torrent of runners passed the ABC7's studio and the iconic Chicago Theater on State Street, among other city landmarks.

The fall weather set the stage for a picture-perfect marathon for the thousands of runners after months of intense training.

SEE ALSO | Geneva woman to run in Chicago Marathon to raise money for gun violence prevention

Race organizers expected more than 1 million spectators to line city streets along the marathon route.

The marathon started and ended in Grant Park.

Street closures in the Grant Park area began on Monday, with the closure of Balbo Drive from Columbus to DuSable Lake Shore Drive at 10 a.m. Additional street closures for race day at the start/finish line area can be expected through the weekend.