Your NPR news source
a woman holds a sign in front of runners that reads 5 things you could be doing instead

Penny Hawthorne, WBEZ

Not a runner? Try our far-less sweaty Chicago marathon alternatives.

This weekend is the annual Chicago marathon, which means 35,000 runners will embark on a 26.2-mile journey through the city. For those of us more on the sedentary side, it’s a feat that’s difficult to comprehend.

Just how long are participants actually running?

Runners took an average of 4 hours, 35 minutes and 34 seconds (roughly 275 minutes) to cross the finish line, according to race data from 2009 to 2019. To put that figure in perspective, we put together a list of marathon “alternatives” you could do in the same amount of time.

Ready? On your mark, get set, go!

1. Take the Red Line from Howard to 95th/Dan Ryan and back — twice

a man rides a train

Penny Hawthorn, WBEZ

Think your commute is bad? Try riding the train for 4 1/2 hours, long enough for two roundtrips on the Red Line from Howard to 95th/Dan Ryan.

2. Ride the Navy Pier ferris wheel 19 times

three women walk near the navy pier ferris wheel

Penny Hawthorne, Manuel Martinez

A turn on everyone’s favorite tourist trap takes somewhere between 13 and 15 minutes, so you’ll have time for around 19 trips — if your stomach can handle it.

3. Listen to “LSD” by Jamila Woods (feat. Chance the Rapper) 80 times

a woman listens to music on her phone

Penny Hawthorne, WBEZ

Get ready to hit the repeat button. The thoroughfare-themed track clocks in at 3 minutes and 28 seconds, which means you’ll have time for approximately 80 listens.

4. Watch the entire first season of Chicago Party Aunt, and start over

a group of people watch Chicago Party Aunt

Penny Hawthorne, WBEZ

Curious how the infamous Twitter personality translates to the small screen? In 4 1/2 hours, you can binge the entire first season — and then rewatch the first three episodes.

5. Order — and wait for — six deep-dish pizzas at Giordano’s

a family eats pizza

Penny Hawthorne, WBEZ

It’s a classic Chicago conundrum: Order deep dish and face a lengthy wait, or settle for thin crust? In 4 ½ hours, Giordano’s can fire up six deep-dish pies back to back. Hope you like leftovers!

Penny Hawthorne is a multimedia and audience engagement intern at WBEZ. Follow her @penny_eleanor_. Libby Berry is WBEZ’s interim audience engagement producer. Follow her @libbyaberry.

WBEZ data reporter Charmaine Runes contributed to this story. Follow her @maerunes.

The Latest
A massive dance archive housed at the Newberry Library will help preserve a rich and eclectic history that spans decades and genres.
The music superstar is facing multiple lawsuits, including one from Rodney Jones, 38, who grew up in Chicago’s gospel music community.

For Chicago’s pastry whisperer, the answer is serendipity – and a heaping of knowing what millennials want next. “My drumbeat has always been a little different than most people.”
“We essentially only got a day and a quarter of what we paid for.”
The television writer has returned to Chicago with the third installment of a trilogy about the Red Summer of 1919.