Registration for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon opened Tuesday -- and was temporarily suspended over technical issues that ensued nearly immediately.
Though the annual 26.2-mile race does not take place until Oct. 13, participants need plenty of time to train -- and with registration capped at 45,000 runners, event officials said in a statement they were anticipating a swift sellout this year.
Shortly after the registration opened at noon Tuesday, would-be marathoners widely reported facing long delays of a half hour or more -- on the marathon's registration page. Late Tuesday afternoon, the technical issues caused the Chicago Marathon to announce that it was suspending registrations entirely, via a Facebook post.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Chicago Marathon issued another statement reporting that they do not plan on reinstating registration within the next two days and will issue an update on the matter by 5 p.m. Thursday. Carey Pinkowski, the marathon's executive director, said in the statement:
We are incredibly sorry that runners interested in signing up for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon experienced such difficulties today. We have been working nonstop with our registration provider to find the root of the problem and a solution. Many runners were able to sign up before the registration process was suspended. There are currently 15,000 entries remaining. Before we re-open registration, we need to make sure all technical issues are permanently resolved. We will provide ample notice regarding when the registration process will re-open. We sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm and support for the event.
Earlier, individuals attempting to register for the race took to the Chicago Marathon's Facebook page and Twitter to voice their complaints. Some reported being charged their registration fees twice and quipped that running the marathon would likely prove easier than registering for it.
— Julian M Bucknall (@JMBucknall) February 19, 2013
@huffpostchicago process was a big fail.i'm registered twice, and my card was charged 3x!
— Emily Gray Tedrowe (@egtedrowe) February 19, 2013
Earlier Tuesday, the Chicago Marathon responded to criticism of its online registration process in a comment shared on Facebook by the Chicago Area Runners Association:
"If you are trying to register for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and have experienced or are experiencing an error message in the process, we apologize for the inconvenience. We are working with our registration partners at Active.com to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding."
Last year, the marathon sold out in six days. As recently as three years ago, it took 51 days to do the same thing, ABC Chicago reports.
At the House of Blues Chicago on Monday, the marathon held a kickoff event attended by the top American finisher of last year's race, Dathan Ritzenhein, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Ritzenhein plans to run in the 2013 marathon as well, and hopes to run even harder than he did last year.
The Chicago Marathon is one of the six most prestigious marathons held in the world and attracts over a million spectators each year in addition to the thousands of runners. Its route stretches as far north from its Grant Park starting point as Addison, as far west as Damen and as far south as 35th Street.
Registration in the race costs $175 for U.S. runners or $200 for those who live outside the United States.