As we mentioned in this morning's Warmup Lap, registration for the 2012 Chicago Marathon officially opens February 1 (that's today, mind you) at 1 p.m. EST. The race itself is set for Oct. 7, and the entry fee will set you back $150 ($175 for participants outside the U.S.). The field is capped at 45,000 -- click here to go to the registration page -- and based on previous years, if interested, you should sign-up sooner rather than later; Last year's race filled up in just 31 days.
The official race site has all the information you could want -- General Information, FAQ, and, perhaps most importantly, a look at the course (PDF link), which both starts and ends in Grant Park, right along the banks of Lake Michigan:
20 Aid Stations are located along the course approximately one to two miles apart. Each Aid Station includes the following amenities in this order: Medical Tent with access to a Runner Transport vehicle*, toilet facilities, Gatorade G Series ProTM 02 Perform Endurance Formula (lemon-lime flavor) and water. Aid Station 13 (Mile 17.8) offers Clif SHOT Energy Gel (Mocha + Caffeine, Razz®, Vanilla and Citrus + Caffeine flavors) and Aid Stations 15-18 (Miles 20 - 23.5) offer bananas.
Add in that it's one of the flattest and fastest marathon courses around and it's no wonder that Chicago, one of the World Marathon Majors (along with London, Berlin, Boston and New York), is a popular pick for runners looking set their marathon PR.
Oh, and while Chicago can have some brutal summers and frigid winters, it's not too much of a concern in October -- the normal high is 66 degrees, with a low of 49.