Chicago River Marathon & Half Marathon

September 13, 2020

The Chicago River Marathon and Half-Marathon is a regatta that will challenge the toughest of rowers who seek an adventurous row that rivals the average head race. The Full Marathon will start and end in the Bridgeport neighborhood and extend north to the Albany Park neighborhood before heading back straight south to finish near the start. The course covers the dynamic range of Chicago’s neighborhoods, surveying the changing landscape from industrial to natural prairie land. Rowers will race through Chicago’s famed downtown and will pass architecturally significant buildings like the Willis Tower, Civic Opera House, Merchandise Mart, The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and Aqua Tower. The course will also lead rowers past six boathouses, including all four of Chicago’s city boathouses. The course runs under or past every single one of the city’s historic moveable bridges, of which Chicago has the most of any city in the world!

The Half-Marathon course also starts in Bridgeport, but does not pass north of Kinzie St. Rowers race through the Loop and to the locks and back, passing the same architectural landmarks as the Full Marathon, then proceeding southward back toward the Park 571 boathouse.

In 2016, the Chicago River Marathon partnered with The Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) to celebrate Paris and Chicago as sister cities and to expand the reach of The Rowing Exchange. Now in its 8th year, The Rowing Exchange was started by Susan Hackett and is chaired by Stephanie Leese Emrich of The Paris Committee of CSCI. In addition to the 2016 event, it has seen University of Chicago Crew student rowers participate in La Traversée de Paris annually and in June of 2012, a Chicago tour row by the Parisian rowers from Aviron-Marie.

Please direct all inquiries to

Download Course Map


5:00 Full Marathon launch
5:30 Full Marathon start
6:30 Half Marathon launch
7:00 Half Marathon start
10:00–10:30 Start of medals ceremony (approx.)
11:00–11:30 Start of “after party” brunch at Duck Inn (optional)

Please direct all inquiries to


The South Loop Hotel in Bridgeport is close to our launch site at 2754 S Eleanor St and to the CTA orange line which runs to the loop.

The Palmer House is also conveniently located near the Chicago Riverwalk, the site of most of our preferred viewing locations.

Viewing Locations
There are a number of comfortable viewing locations along the river. The most accessible locations are those along the Chicago Riverwalk at river level along Wacker Drive. We recommend any of the following:

Public viewing steps at Wolf Point: 343 W Wolf Point Plaza
Public viewing steps on Riverwalk between Clark and Lasalle, 120 W Wacker Dr.
Riverwalk between Michigan and Columbus. Check out the nearby “McCormick Bridgehouse and Museum” at 99 Chicago Riverwalk, for historical perspective on the Chicago River!
We’re currently reaching out to restaurants along the Riverwalk and will add available options soon.

Awards Ceremony

Gold medals will be awarded to winners of all events and silver medals will be awarded to second-place finishers in all events with more than ten entrants.