Cheer on Chicago Marathon runners in Greektown

Greektown is one of the best spots in the city to watch the Chicago Marathon runners on Sunday, October 10. The runners will loop through Greektown twice, at Mile 14 and just after Mile 17, so you’ll be able to show lots of support at our marathon event. And fun fact: the origins of the marathon are in ancient Greece! (More details on that below.)

Join us at the corner of Gladys and Halsted Streets on October 10 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. to cheer on the marathon runners, make signs, enjoy complimentary coffee and Greek pastries, and dance to Greek music played by a DJ on site. After all that cheering, you may feel hungry for a delicious meal—don’t forget to stop by one of our many Greektown restaurants afterwards.

View the 2021 Chicago Marathon course map online HERE to see where the race passes through Greektown along Halsted Street.

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The history of the marathon

The modern marathon was inspired by the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece to Athens in 490 B.C.  According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the badly outnumbered Greeks had managed to defeat the invading Persians, and a messenger was sent running approximately 25 miles to the Acropolis in Athens to deliver the good news. Pheidippides delivered his message of “Nike!” (Victory!) then collapsed from exhaustion on the spot and died.

“The first marathon was run in 1896, significantly at the first modern Olympics,” says the National Hellenic Museum’s Resident Scholar, Dr. Katherine Kelaidis. “The creation of both the modern marathon and the modern Olympics demonstrate Neo-Classical and Romantic fascination with Ancient Greece and the deep desire many in the 18th and 19th centuries had to revive and recreate the Classical world.”

Learn more about the marathon and why it is now 26.2 miles in this article from the History channel.

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