From Start to Finish – CTA is a Convenient Travel Option for the Chicago Marathon

October 11, 2013

The CTA will provide extensive bus and rail service for all participants and spectators heading to the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 13. The marathon begins at 7:15 a.m. for wheelchair participants and 7:30 a.m. for runners; all will start the race just north of Jackson on Columbus Drive with the course winding through multiple city neighborhoods. 

CTA recommends customers attending the marathon purchase 1-day or 3-day unlimited-ride visitor passes or fare cards in advance with enough value for their return trips later in the day. This will help to decrease travel time and reduce lines.

Additional CTA personnel will be on duty at several stations along the Blue, Red, Green, Brown and Orange lines and at major bus stops to assist customers and provide travel information. 

CTA will operate longer trains to accommodate expected crowds. Because bus routes in the vicinity of the marathon also will be affected with intermittent reroutes or delays related to lane closures, CTA recommends that customers allow extra travel time.


Blue, Orange and Red Lines

Longer trains will operate on each rail line during marathon hours. More frequent service will operate on the Red Line.

Brown Line

Brown Line service into the Loop will begin earlier than normal, with the first train departing Kimball at 5 a.m., providing service to downtown. Longer trains will operate during marathon hours.

Green Line

Green Line service will begin earlier than normal, with the first trains departing from Harlem/Lake at 5:30 a.m. and 63rd/Cottage Grove at 5:40 a.m. Longer trains will operate during marathon hours.

Orange Line

Orange Line service will begin at its regular Sunday start time; however, longer trains will begin operation at 5:30 a.m. from Midway. 

Purple Line

Purple Line service will begin earlier than normal, with the first train departing from Linden at 5:30 a.m., providing service to Howard where customers can transfer to the Red Line for service to downtown.


On Sunday, CTA will provide earlier service on the #3 King Drive bus route. From 5:30 a.m. until approximately one hour after the event starts, #3 buses will operate every 15 minutes between McCormick Place and Walton/Mies van der Rohe to accommodate runners and spectators.

During the course of the race, there will be intermittent reroutes along several CTA bus routes. The affected routes are:

  • #3 King Drive
  • #4 Cottage Grove
  • #6 Jackson Park Express
  • #8 Halsted
  • #9 Ashland
  • #10 Museum of Science & Industry
  • #12 Roosevelt
  • #J14 Jeffery Jump
  • #18 16th/18th
  • #20 Madison
  • #21 Cermak
  • #22 Clark
  • #R22 Cermak-Roosevelt Express Shuttle
  • #29 State
  • #35 31st/35th
  • #36 Broadway
  • #44 Wallace/Racine
  • #50 Damen
  • #56 Milwaukee
  • #60 Blue Island/26th
  • #62 Archer
  • #65 Grand
  • #66 Chicago
  • #70 Division
  • #72 North
  • #73 Armitage
  • #74 Fullerton
  • #76 Diversey
  • #77 Belmont
  • #124 Navy Pier
  • #126 Jackson
  • #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express
  • #147 Outer Drive Express
  • #151 Sheridan
  • #152 Addison

Reroutes can be expected in the downtown area from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.; on the North Side from 6:30 a.m. until noon; on the West Side from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.; and on the South Side from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. All times are approximate and detours will be determined by Chicago Police and CTA supervisory personnel.


Viewing areas are designated near CTA rail stations at nine points along the marathon route for those interested in following the progress of the race.

First Viewing Area – Grand (Red Line) Station – Miles #1, #3 and #12.

Board a Red Line train and exit at Grand Avenue.

Second Viewing Area – Monroe (Red Line) Station –Mile #2.

Board a Red Line train and exit at Monroe. Walk two blocks south to Jackson/State.

Third Viewing Area – Chicago (Red Line) Station – Miles #3.5 and #11.5. 

Board a Red Line train and exit at Chicago. Walk three blocks west to LaSalle Street.

Fourth Viewing Area – Addison (Red Line) Station – Mile #7.75. 

Board a Red Line train and exit at Addison. Walk four blocks east to Broadway.

Fifth Viewing Area – Sedgwick (Brown Line) Station – Mile #10.25. 

Board a Brown Line train and exit at Sedgwick Street. Walk a half-block north to North Avenue.

Sixth Viewing Area – UIC-Halsted (Blue Line) Station – Miles #16 and #16.5.

Board a Blue Line train and exit at UIC-Halsted. Use the accessible Halsted Street exit or the auxiliary Peoria Street exit. Walk two blocks north on Peoria Street to Jackson Street to view runners at Mile #16 in Greektown or use the accessible Halsted exit to view runners at Mile #16.5.
NOTE: the Morgan Street exit is temporarily closed due to demolition of the bridge over the expressway.

Seventh Viewing Area – 18th (Pink Line) Station – Mile #19.

Board a Pink Line train and exit at 18th Street. Walk one block east to Ashland.

Eighth Viewing Area – Halsted (Orange Line) Station – Mile #20.5.

Board an Orange Line train and exit at Halsted.

Ninth Viewing Area – 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (Red/Green Line) Station – Mile #23.

Board a Red/Green Line train and exit at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT. Use either the 34th Street or 35th Street exit. 

Tenth Viewing Area – Roosevelt (Red/Green/Orange Lines) Station – Finish Line.

Board a Red, Green or Orange line train and exit at Roosevelt. Walk east on Roosevelt Road toward the Museum Campus/Grant Park. Additional service will be provided on the #R22 Cermak-Roosevelt Express Shuttle for the duration of the race. This shuttle operates between the temporarily closed Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station and the Roosevelt Red/Orange/Green transfer station.


CTA Info On-the-Go

Use CTA Train Tracker to get the estimated arrival time of your next train. And check out CTA on Twitter (@CTA) for system travel updates and alerts.

Park & Ride Facilities

Avoid traffic congestion, combine the convenience of driving with the economical savings of public transit by using CTA Park & Ride facilities. Parking is available for approximately 6,000 cars at CTA’s 17 Park & Ride facilities, mainly at rail terminals, throughout the CTA system. 

Park & Ride stations are listed on CTA’s system map and on the CTA’s website at transitchicago.com/parking/.

Fare Information

Bus customers who use CTA fare media pay $2.00 to ride. For rail customers or customers who pay cash on the bus, the fare is $2.25. Customers who use CTA fare media may transfer for a 25-cent fee. Transfers are not available for customers paying bus fares in cash. More information is available at: transitchicago.com/fares/


For details about all CTA service, call 312-836-7000 or visit the CTA website at transitchicago.com

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