Chicago gets set for marathon weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's marathon weekend in Chicago and this year's event is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

More than 45,000 runners from around the world have descended on the city, preparing to toe the line.

This is the first marathon for runner Juan Martinez.

"I have never seen anything like this," he said.

The Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and fast course, which starts and ends in Grant Park.

"You get to see the city as a whole, rather than Boston where it is point to point," runner Adrian Amaral said of the course.

Nearly 2 million spectators are expected to turn out to support runners as they cover 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods.

"We have all been to Wrigley and Chinatown, but we have not experienced it like we will on Sunday," Martinez said.

Jennifer Donald, another marathoner, said the crowd pushes her on.

"When you are going that far you need all the help you can get," she said.

The race continues to bring in big money for the city. Last year it generated $378 million for the local economy.

"I have already run Boston and I have the six marathons in mind and Chicago is stop two," Amaral said.

A number of street closures and no parking zones go into effect Sunday.
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