From Start to Finish, the CTA is Your Way to the Chicago Marathon

October 8, 2015

Additional service to be provided; customers encouraged to purchase fares ahead of time; CTA to provide extra staff this week at O’Hare, Midway to assist travelers

For runners and spectators attending the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 11, the CTA is a convenient way to access all viewing points throughout the course from start to finish. The CTA is ready to accommodate the expected crowds with additional service along key routes and extra personnel staffing major bus and rail stops, including at O’Hare and Midway airports, to assist customers with purchasing fares and providing travel information.

The marathon begins Sunday at 7:20 a.m. for wheelchair participants and 7:30 a.m. for runners. Participants will start the race just north of Jackson on Columbus Drive with the course winding through multiple city neighborhoods. 

Bus service in the vicinity of the marathon will be affected with intermittent reroutes or delays related to lane closures. The CTA recommends that customers allow extra travel time.


The CTA strongly recommends that marathon participants and spectators purchase fares in advance to decrease travel times and avoid long lines at rail station vending machines.

Customers can load ahead of time transit value or unlimited ride passes (1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day) to their Ventra farecards at rail stations, online or at nearly 1,300 local retailers (locations available at ventrachicago.com). Other ways to pay fares including purchase from CTA vending machines 1-day unlimited ride tickets ($10) or single-ride tickets ($3) that include up to two transfers in two hours. Customers can also pay their fares with their personal contactless debit or credit cards.

The CTA will also have a booth at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday at McCormick Place to provide travel information and transit tips. Cash-only ride tickets will also be available at the CTA booth. 

Additional CTA personnel will be on duty at the O’Hare Blue Line Terminal and the Midway Orange Line Terminal to assist marathon participants and spectators arrivingThursday through Saturday. Then on Sunday, additional staff will be available at several major rail stations and bus stops across the system to help customers with travel information and fares.

RAIL SERVICE – Sunday Only

Blue Line: Longer trains will operate beginning 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. More frequent service also will be provided with trains operating every 5-6 minutes beginning 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m.

Red Line: Longer trains will operate beginning 5 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m. More frequent service also will be provided, with trains operating every 6-8 minutes between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.; and every 5-6 minutes from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Brown Line: Longer trains will operate beginning with the start of service until 4 p.m. More frequent service also will be provided with trains operating every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. until
3 p.m.

Orange Line: Longer trains will operate beginning 5:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Green Line: Longer trains will operate beginning 5:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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


On Friday and Saturday, the CTA will operate increased service on the #3 King Drive route for the 2015 Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Extra service will begin each day at approximately 7:40 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m. Friday night and 8 p.m. Saturday night.

For the 2015 Chicago Marathon, the CTA will operate the Yellow Line Shuttle earlier, with the first trip departing Dempster-Skokie at 5:40 am. The free shuttle buses serve all Yellow Line rail stations (Dempster-Skokie, Oakton-Skokie and Howard).

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

#3 King Drive

#56 Milwaukee

#4 Cottage Grove

#60 Blue Island/26th

#6 Jackson Park Express

#62 Archer

#8 Halsted

#65 Grand

#9 Ashland

#66 Chicago

#10 Museum of Science & Industry

#70 Division

#12 Roosevelt

#72 North

#J14 Jeffery Jump

#73 Armitage

#18 16th/18th

#74 Fullerton

#20 Madison

#76 Diversey

#21 Cermak

#77 Belmont

#22 Clark

#124 Navy Pier

#29 State

#126 Jackson

#35 31st/35th

#146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express

#36 Broadway

#147 Outer Drive Express

#44 Wallace/Racine

#151 Sheridan

#50 Damen

#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.

For information on street closures, visit https://chicagomarathon.com/streetclosures.


Viewing areas are designated near CTA rail stations at ten 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 Street.

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 (Mile 3.5) and four blocks west to Wells Street (Mile 11.5).

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 Halsted Street exit or Morgan Street exit. Walk two blocks north on Morgan Street to Adams Street to view runners at Mile #16 in Greektown or use the Halsted Street exit to view runners at Mile #16.5

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 – Sox-35th and 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (Red/Green Line) Stations – Mile #23. Board a Green Line train and exit at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT using either the 33rd Street or 35th Street exit. Board a Red Line train and exit at Sox-35th. Walk two blocks east on 35th Street to State Street.

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.

Park & Ride Facilities

Avoid traffic congestion and combine the convenience of driving with the economic benefit 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 the CTA’s website at transitchicago.com/parking/.

Stay in the Loop on CTA service

Plan your trip using the Google Transit Trip Planner. Be sure to also check out CTA on Facebook or Twitter (@CTA) for system travel updates and alerts. For details about all CTA service, call 312-836-7000 or visit the CTA website at transitchicago.com.

Note: Due to street closures, reroutes and traffic congestion, the estimated arrival times for buses operating in the vicinity of the marathon route may not be accurately reflected on CTA Bus Tracker.

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