We are off to the races today to watch the Chicago marathon (and you can even do it online!) Yes, more than 35,000 runners will take off from the start line of the 43rd Chicago Marathon in Grant Park today.
The 26.2 mile race snakes through 29 neighborhoods in Chicago, but if you’re not local enough to stand on the sidewalk and cheer, we’ve got you covered — here’s how to tune in to the Chicago Marathon from your couch.
The Chicago Marathon kicks off at 7:20 am CDT with the men’s wheelchair race. The women’s wheelchair race starts at 7:21 a.m., then the mass participation waves begin from 7:30 a.m. Obviously, the elite men and elite women will be in the first wave, so if you’re hoping to watch the elite race, get your coffee and breakfast and be ready to watch from 7:30 am.
The elite field has had some changes in the past few days, with 14 elite runners withdrawing from the race and 17 athletes being added. That said, it still looks to be an exciting race, with the likes of Dickson Chumba, Reuben Kipyego, and Kengo Suzuki toeing the line of the men’s race, alongside Galen Rupp, who will be racing in front of a home crowd. In the women’s race, Ruth Chepngetich is the fastest woman in the field but will have stiff competition from Vivian Kiplagat and Sara Hall.
If you’re looking for a runner in the mass-participation race, wave 1 will start at 7:30 am, wave 2 at 8:00 am, and wave 3 at 8:35 am, so it’s a good idea to check with your runner beforehand. The easiest way to keep an eye on how your runner is doing is to track them — here’s how to track runners at the Chicago Marathon 2021.
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Chicago Marathon start times and schedule
The timeline for the day is as follows (all times are in Central Time):
7:20 a.m.: Marathon Wheelchair Start (men)
7:21 a.m.: Marathon Wheelchair Start (women)
7:22 a.m.: Marathon Handcycle Start
7:30 a.m.: Wave 1 Start
8 a.m.: Wave 2 Start
8:35 a.m.: Wave 3 Start
How to watch the Chicago Marathon live stream wherever you are
The Chicago Marathon coverage will be on NBC 5 Chicago, Telemundo Chicago and TeleXitos on Sunday, but if you're not in the US, there are still ways to watch a friend or family member take on the race.
The answer is to use a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN will let you tune into your home coverage from wherever you are — meaning that if you're abroad, you can use one of the best VPN services to watch the games live as if you were in your lounge.
Our favorite right now is ExpressVPN, thanks to its combination of superb speed, great customer service and excellent device support. It also offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee, so you could check it out without having to sign up long term.
Speed, security and simplicity combine to make ExpressVPN our favorite VPN service. In our testing, we were impressed by its fast connection times and by its ability to access more than 3,000 services in 160 locations across 94 countries. A 30-day money-back guarantee is another bonus.
Using a VPN is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.
2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.K. and want to view a U.S. service, you'd select U.S. from the list.
3. Sit back and enjoy the race. Head to NBCSport to stream the marathon.
How to watch the Chicago Marathon in the US
A live stream of the Chicago Marathon will begin on NBCChicago.com from 7 a.m. on Sunday and on NBC5. Cord-cutters should be able to watch on Sling TV or fuboTV if NBC5 is available to you in your area, or on NBC Sports Network on Sling Blue or fubo. The live coverage will continue until 11:00 am on TV, and a live finish line stream will continue until 3:00 pm on the NBC Chicago website and app.
NBC 5's marathon broadcast and digital coverage also will stream on NBC Chicago's free app on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV as well as Peacock and on LX.
Outside of Chicago, you can also tune in to the Chicago Marathon on NBC Sports, or stream it on Peacock, although that does require you to have a subscription, which costs $4.99 a month.
If you signed up to FloSports to watch the London Marathon last weekend, you can also stream the Chicago Marathon on there.
Fubo.TV: One of the best streaming services with NBC Sports Network and NBC, and the top pick for watching all of the 2021 NFL live streams, Fubo has all of the right network channels and the two cable channels you don't want to go without. Who needs cable? Not Fubo subscribers. It's got a 7-day free trial so you don't need to pay up front.
With NBC Sports Network on Sling Blue, Sling TV provides adds marathon coverage on top of its already decent coverage. The $35 per month Sling Blue package also has NBC affiliates for the race for locals, as well as local FOX affiliates and much more.
How to watch the Chicago Marathon in the UK
If you’re in the UK, you can still follow the Chicago Marathon live coverage by using one of the best VPN services, such as ExpressVPN.
The race starts at 1.20 pm BST. You can also watch the live stream from FloSports, but this does require you to have a subscription. Plans start at $12.50 per month, according to the FloSports website, and you can download the FloSports app on Roku and Apple TV.