Sunday, April 6, 2014

Act Fast! Register Before the Chicago Marathon Lottery Closes

Tomorrow's not tax day. Nor is it Marathon Monday where we'll all be watching the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. But Monday, April 7, is a special Monday if you are in the market for running a fall marathon, specifically the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It's the Monday when registration closes for the October 12 race.

Sure, it seems odd to be announcing that a race's registration is closing. Usually we're waiting in anticipation for registration's to open (hello Ironman) so we can grab one of the coveted spots before they're gone. But after last year's Chicago Marathon registration debacle where runners flooded the registration system and caused it to crash, the race turned to a lottery system to randomly select entrants who weren't running with a charity partner, had completed the race multiple times in recent years, or were fast enough to use a qualifying time to enter.

At noon central time tomorrow, the registration period will end for those runners who'd wish to enter the marathon's lottery system or register as a legacy finisher or time qualifier. Lottery entries are not guaranteed, but those entrants will be notified of their status on April 14. Time qualifiers need to have run verifiable races after Jan. 1, 2012, of sub 3:15:00 for men and sub 3:45:00 for women. Legacy finishers need to have finished the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the last 10 years (2004-2013).

Still confused? Get your questions here or read more about it on the marathon's registration page. One thing's for sure: You don't want to register at 12:01 p.m. because you could potentially be completely shut out of this year's race. While running with one of the charities in the Official Charity Program is still an option after the lottery entrants are announced, the charity of your choice may have already filled its slots or raised its fundraising minimum (good for them, but harder on you if you risked the lottery over charity running in the first place and doubt your ability to raise the funds).

Remember when registering for races was easy?

Who's already in for Chicago 2014, whether it's by charity, time or legacy? Finally my silly obsession with running this race year in and year out has done more than empty my wallet and tear skin off certain body parts. It made me a legacy finisher who's just waiting for the next steps to finalize that registration.

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