Chicago Marathon Sign-up Fiasco

23 Mar

If you’re a runner, you’re probably already aware of the Chicago Marathon registration fiasco.

If not, here’s a quick recap: Registration opened for the 2013 Chicago Marathon on February 19. The technical servers at, the site hosting the registration process, couldn’t handle the HUGE amount of traffic that would have probably filled the marathon in record time, maybe just hours. Their site crashed: some people could not get to the registration form at all; some would get partially through registration but time out; some would unknowingly get all the way through and register multiple times. After a couple hours, registration was suspended. Marathon officials finally held a lottery for the remaining 15,000 open spots (hosted on their OWN site, may I point out). Those 15,000 (of about 36,000 in the lottery) who were chosen at random had a couple days to then actually sign up. If you weren’t chosen—that was it, better luck next year, unless you wanted to sign up to run [and raise a lot of money] for a charity.

Where does this leave me, Amanda, who decided to finally run my first marathon—so excited, committed and motivated that I had told pretty much EVERYone I knew?

The night before marathon registration began, Brandi attended an official event at the Chicago House of Blues and was able to pre-register. “Sign up as soon as you can tomorrow,” she had told me. She heard buzz that it would fill in record time.

So, I was one of the thousands who logged on at 12:00 on the dot when registration opened. I had one hour before I had to leave work to catch a flight to a conference. After countless page refreshes and curse words in my mind, I gave up and just figured I’d try later. I didn’t even think about it again until a few hours had passed, just minutes before we were to begin boarding the flight I had to be on. Miraculously, I got to the registration page, put in my personal & credit card info—only to then receive an error message. I gave up and boarded the flight.

It wasn’t until later that night when I realized what a mess the registration was turning out to be. Lara called me to say she couldn’t get through and registration was suspended. I wasn’t even sure if I was registered, until I checked my credit card statement online and saw there was a charge. Phew. But I was still bummed: Brandi, Lara & I had all decided we would run it together…that was one of the biggest reasons I had even decided to run the marathon in the first place. If Lara couldn’t participate, then it just wouldn’t be the same. I could feel my excitement waning.

Lara signed up for the lottery, only to receive a rejection email that she wasn’t one of those chosen to sign up. Womp. What were we to do? Lara could sign up to run through a charity—but having done that in the past, she knew how hard it was to raise the large amount of money needed for that, which could be over $1000.

“YOU HAVE TO DO IT!” I kept telling her. She had two sisters ready & willing to help her raise the money for a charity, if that’s what it took to get her in.

So, that’s what she did. She signed up through Girls on the Run to raise money & run for their cause. It’s a cause all three of us sisters believe in and have run for before, and actually, I am glad we can support them as we run this race. 26.2 miles to help young girls build confidence and self-esteem? What better reason could there be?

Don’t worry…we’ll be posting a donation link for you to help, too. ;)

So there you have it—despite the pesky interweb’s best try, all three of us RUN sisters have signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Hope you’re all ready to hear about it for the next 6 months!

Let us know: Were you able to get in? Do you know someone else who is signing up through a charity to run?

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3 Responses to “Chicago Marathon Sign-up Fiasco”

  1. Mary Ann Hageman March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Hey there! I know it’s too late now and there was no way you would know this lottery thing was going to happen, but if you sign up with some charities before registration closes, you only have to raise $500. I joined Open Heart Magic charity before I even registered for the marathon (luckily I got to register when Brandi did), so I only have to raise $500, but if I waited til after the registration ended it is now $1000. Just in case they do a lottery next year I wanted to share :) You will be surprised how many people donate to your charity. We have 6 months to do it! I find that most people who are raising money themselves donate. haha I have already donated to 4 or 5 people’s charities! LOL :) I have to stop for a while so I can donate to more later… Let me know your link and I’ll donate :) Here’s my link in case you want to look at the charity i picked!

    Personally, I wouldn’t even want to run the marathon not running a charity. It makes it so much more meaningful and it helps you finish those last few difficult miles because you know you’re helping someone else :)

  2. Boston April 18, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Which was equally interesting likewise as insightful!

    Thank you for sharing your views with us.

  3. Bon Crowder (@mathfour) May 20, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    There was a pseudo-disaster similar to this in Houston a few years ago. I, like you, was on at midnight to sign up. The whole site went down, but I was lucky enough to wake up at 4 AM and register for my half marathon.

    They didn’t decide to do the lottery until the next year, which made me so angry that I’ve boycotted the marathon ever since.

    Oh, and that half marathon – I found out two weeks before the race that I was pregnant with our first child. So my awesome pace that I was working on got cut down to a run/walk. But I still completed the whole thing, and eight months later, I crossed the finish line of mom-hood.

    It’s exciting that two of the sisters got in, and you guys only have to raise money for the other sister. GO TEAM!

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