How to Watch the 2021 Chicago Marathon

This year’s elite field includes several strong American contenders.

Along with its deep-dish pizza and hot dogs, Chicago is known for its seriously fast and competitive marathon. This year’s race kicks off along Lakeshore Drive on Sunday, October 10, following a loop around the city before finishing back in Grant Park.

The relatively flat course is a favorite of elites aiming for personal bests—and if race conditions cooperate, killer times are in reach.

Here’s how to catch all the action, and what you’ll want to watch for in the big race:

What: The 2021 Chicago Marathon

When: The NBC Sports broadcast begins at 8 a.m. ET; the race starts at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Where: Chicago, Illinois

How to Watch: In the U.S., you can tune into NBC Sports or stream it on Peacock (which requires a $4.99/month subscription). For Chicago residents, the race will be broadcast live on NBC 5 Chicago and Telemundo Chicago from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. local time, and streamed on and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How to Spectate: Spectator information, including cheer zones and CTA stations near the course, can be found at the Chicago Marathon website.)

With the defending men’s champion absent, who will take the title?

galen rupp
Galen Rupp crosses the line at the Tokyo Marathon on August 8.
Lintao Zhang

At the 2019 Chicago Marathon, Lawrence Cherono secured his second major marathon victory of the year, outkicking Dejene Debele by just one second to take the win in 2:05:45. He became the first man since 2006 to win the Boston and Chicago Marathons in the same year.

However, Cherono will not be returning to Chicago in 2021 to defend his title. Instead, expect to see 2017 champion Galen Rupp and 2015 champion Dickson Chumba duke it out with sub-2:04 man Reuben Kipyego, Ethiopia’s Seifu Turafor, and Japanese marathon record holder Kengo Suzuki.

Other Americans in the field include Wilkerson Given and Chris Derrick, who both own sub-2:13 personal records.

Will the American record in the women’s marathon fall?

london marathon 2020
Sara Hall finishes second at the 2020 London Marathon.
IAN WALTONGetty Images

In 2019, Brigid Kosgei of Kenya ran an incredible 2:14:04 to break the world record en route to victory in Chicago. She won’t be running through the Windy City again this year, as she raced the London Marathon on October 3, finishing fourth in 2:18:40., but another world record-holder will be chasing the top spot on the podium.

This year, another world record-holder, Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya, rightly asserts herself as the 2021 Chicago Marathon favorite. She boasts a 2:17:08 marathon personal best, along with her half marathon world record, and she’ll be chased by a handful of standout Americans.

Sara Hall has made it known that she will be gunning for a sub-2:20 marathon in Chicago, specifically chasing Deena Kastor’s American record of 2:19:36. Hall ran the second-fastest marathon in history—2:20:32—at the Marathon Project last December. Behind her, Keira D’Amato is hoping to continue her breakout series of races that started with a 2:22:56 time at the Marathon Project last year. Emma Bates, who placed fourth at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, will also be gunning for a podium spot.

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