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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.

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