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Chicago Marathon's 2014 Registration Process Will Use A Lottery System

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Runners participate in the Chicago Marathon in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

The organizers of the Chicago Marathon on Thursday announced a huge change to the registration process for this year's race, a process that devolved into a giant mess last year when the registration website collapsed under the weight of overwhelming demand.

Organizers announced the 2014 race will utilize a lottery system wherein some registrants will be guaranteed to be among the 26.2-mile race's 45,000 runners, while others' participation will be left up to chance.

Registrants guaranteed their spot in the Oct. 12 race will include:

  • Anyone running on behalf of an official Chicago Marathon charity,
  • Anyone participating in the official Chicago Marathon international tour program,
  • Anyone who is a "legacy" Chicago Marathon finisher -- having finished the marathon at least five times over the last decade,
  • Anyone participating in the wheelchair division or
  • Any men who have run a verifiable sub-3:15:00 marathon or women who have run a sub-3:45:00 marathon

As for everyone else? You'll have to enter the lottery, much like hopeful participants in the New York Marathon are required to do.

"It is a fair access," Chicago Marathon executive director Carey Pinkowski told the Sun-Times. "It also gives them an opportunity for running for a charity.”

The lottery system was mostly not a hit with commenters on the marathon's Facebook page Thursday, while others commented that the lottery system was inevitable given the race's space constraints.

Registration for the 2014 Chicago Marathon opens on Wednesday, March 5 at 12 p.m. CT and closes on Monday, April 7 at 12 p.m. CT. Registration costs $185 for American residents and $210 for international runners.

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