Just finishing the marathon is something to celebrate. And you can bet there will be plenty of that going on after the race at the 27th Mile Post-Race Party in Butler Field (NE corner of Columbus & Jackson), which is free and open to the public from 10am-3pm.
For those participating in the Marathon, Packets must be picked up at the Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place Lakeside Center (2301 S. Martin Luther King) on Friday, Oct. 7th or Saturday, Oct. 8th 312/904-9800 or visit www.chicagomarathon.com.
When it comes to filling the old fuel tank the night before a big race, the time-honored tradition of carbo-loading is alive and well. Just wander into one of the city's popular Italian eateries on Saturday night to find huge crowds consuming copious amounts of pasta.
Given its central location and its long, storied history, the venerable Italian Village (71 W. Monroe; 312/332-7005) is sure to fill the bellies of several thousand marathon runners and their supporters this weekend. The penne and linguini will similarly be flying out the kitchen doors at River North favorite Buca di Beppo (521 N. Rush; 312/396-0001).
Race-day street closures and big roving crowds can make the task of following your favorite runner from mile marker to mile marker a challenging one. Fortunately, you don't have to miss a minute of race action thanks to the special marathon routes offered by the Chicago Transit Authority (888/968-7282).
For a different perspective and a great alternative for getting around, the boats of the Chicago Water Taxiline (312/337-1446) are a solid nautical play. One of the best routes to keep in mind – downtown to Chinatown via the south branch of the Chicago River.
For many first-time marathoners, the race will likely be a four- or five-hour affair. For the supporters of these runners, that means a lot of energy spent moving from place to place. The good news is that much of the marathon course winds through the city's many rich and vibrant neighborhoods where there are plenty of great restaurant options. Consider these convenient choices for keeping up your spectator strength along the way:
Near Mile 1: Streeterville
355 E. Ohio, 312/822-9655
Start the day right with a protein-rich eye-opener at the burgeoning breakfast empire Yolk.
Near Mile 10: Old Town
1448 N. Wells, 312/664-5264
Time for some Q? Get your hands on some of the best barbequed baby back ribs Chicago has to offer at the legendary Fireplace Inn.
Near Mile 26: South Loop
1112 S. Wabash, 312/212-1112
Celebrate a big finish with a big sandwich and an old-fashioned egg cream at the decidedly old-school Eleven City Diner.