Spring and Fall Ultra Marathons on Chicago's Lakefront

Chicago Lakefront 50K George Cheung Memorial Race - Information

Location and Directions
The Race starts at Foster Avenue Beach House in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois. The Park is located on the north side of Chicago, along the Lake Michigan shoreline. To reach the Foster Avenue Beach House, either take Foster Avenue (Hwy. 41) eastbound until you cross under the Lake Shore Drive viaduct and enter the Park, or take Lake Shore Drive northbound (also Hwy. 41), exit at Foster Avenue, and turn right (east) into the Park. There is no southbound exit from Lake Shore Drive onto Foster Avenue. From the north, exit at Lawrence Avenue, and either re-enter Lake Shore Drive northbound, and exit at Foster, or continue into the Park, turn left (north) at Simonds Drive, and go to the Race Site at Foster Drive. For a map of driving and parking options, click here. Parking options are also discussed further below.

Packet Pickup, Race Day Registration and Reminders

  • Race packets will be available on Friday, April 8, 12pm - 6pm, at REI, 1466 N. Halsted St. Chicago Illinois 60642.
    • Go to the Community Room on the second floor. 312-951-6020.
    • Validated parking in lot for 90 minutes. If you fail to check out before 90 minutes - you will pay "full fare" (i.e.; as if not validated). So, watch the clock. It's $12 bucks for the first two hours.
    • Paybox parking ($3.50 per hour) is also available. There are also a limited number of free spaces around the block (but few and hard to come by...)
  • On race day packet pickup will begin at 7:30 a.m.
  • Registration and packet pickup will be available on Friday and race day.
  • All runners must visibly display their bib number in front for scorekeeping purposes.
  • Please cross the Finish Line only once. Running through the Finish Line chute multiple times confuses the Finish Line crew and timers.

Lincoln Park Safety Issues

  • The Chicago Lakefront 50K will weave through a long, narrow strip of parkland known as Lincoln Park.  The entire shoreline of Chicago is a multi-use park, shared by runners, bikers, bladers, boaters, golfers, fishermen, museum and zoo goers, dog walkers and every other form of leisure, pedestrian traffic.
  • The park is closed between 11 p.m. and sunrise, during which the parking lots are gated.
  • On race day, as every day, the park is open to the public.  Please be aware of this and use common sense and caution when negotiating the various paths throughout the park.  The general public will probably not be aware that a race is in progress, since we are small in number, compared to the larger 5k and 10k races in Chicagoland. Park patrons are generally friendly and cheerful and you can expect them to yield the path if they see you coming.  Please run defensively and give a wide berth or verbal warning when passing from behind.
  • Part of the event is on the lakefront bike path. Stay to your right, running no more than two abreast, and let bikes pass you on the left. As you cut across the path glance over your shoulder to look for the passing bikes, just as you would if you were changing lanes while driving.
  • Chicago Lakefront 50K participants are not permitted to run with dogs or strollers.

The Course
Chicago's Lakefront Bike Path on the Northside. Exact location to be determined.  In-between, the course is comprised of a 78% crushed limestone and cinder path, and 22% paved bike path.  There will be a large race clock at the Start/Finish Turnaround.

Here is a course map and course certification.

Here are the distances at each turnaround point:

Start 0.0 miles
Far Turnaround 5.2 miles
Start/Finish Turnaround 10.4 miles
Far Turnaround (second time) 15.5 miles
Start/Finish Turnaround 20.7 miles
Far Turnaround (third time) 25.9 miles
Finish 31.0692 (50k)

Who was George Cheung?
Find out here

Attention:  First-time Ultramarathoners

  • Ultramarathon courses, especially those using a multiple out-and-back route, DO NOT have splits at each and every mile.
  • We will have splits at the middle aid station, and at the turnaround points, at each end of the course. (See distances, above)
  • You will be able to obtain accurate 1-mile splits by using the Park District Running Path mileage markers, which are located every 1/2 mile on the course.  Those markers do not coincide with any mile markers in our race. However, they can serve as guides for accurate pacing

Course Markings
The course itself will be marked with orange spray paint especially near forks-in-the-path, merging paths, turns near underpasses and at the turnaround points.  Look for the sample at the start as to how the markings will look.

Aid Stations:  There will be 3 Aid Stations on the course, location TBD.

Aid Stations will have water, Gatorade, Coke, cookies, pretzels, potato chips, candy, fruit, first aid supplies and all the goodies you expect from us.  An ambulance will not be stationed on the course. There are four major hospitals located within limping distance of the course, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive .  Aid station volunteers and others will be able to call 911 for help if necessary.

Drop Bags
There will be a tarp near the Start/Finish area to leave drop bags.  These bags will remain there throughout the race. We can not be responsible for lost items, so please do not include anything of value. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity.


  • There is ample parking at the Start/Finish area; adjacent to the Foster Avenue beach house.  Optional parking is located along the street, just past the parking lot.  Parking on the street may even put your vehicle closer to the path than in the parking lot.  All cars will be in close proximity to the path and Start/Finish area.
  • Spectator parking is located throughout the park in numerous locations.  Ideal viewing and parking areas are located near the Hill at Montrose, the Clocktower/Middle Aid Station area, and near North Avenue.
  • Parking is no longer free.  Expect to pay at least $1.00 per hour.

Time Limits and Cutoffs
There will be a 7-hour time limit for the race.  Please notify an aid station volunteer or race official if you intend to drop out of the race.  Volunteers may be able to assist you with transportation back to the Start/Finish area if needed.  You should plan on reaching the last turnaround point at around 5.5 hours to make the 7 hour time limit.

Early Start Option

  • Early start option is available for interested runners up to one hour prior to the official start
  • Runners who choose this option must report to Pat Onines before you start.  He will add you to the Early Start List and mark the bottom of your bib with an ES.
  • After the sign-up, runners can start anytime they want
  •  Important Warnings
    • Early starters are responsible for their own time-keeping, safety (since marking of the course may not be complete), and aid (since aid stations may not be fully set up).
    • Early starters will receive a finisher's medal if they finish the event within 7 hours of the official start
    • Early starters will not receive an official finish time but will receive a “Finished” in the results.

Age Group Divisions
There will be seven age groups: under 30;  30-39;  40-49;  50-59;  60-69;  70-79; 80 and over.  Only the first overall winners receive a trophy.

Springtime forecasting in Chicago is guesswork at best.  We could have temperatures in the ’20s at the starting line or temps in the ’70s by noon.  More than likely, you can expect a bit of everything in-between. Anticipate a variety of temperature fluctuations, along with the chance of rain, snow or sleet. Bring a couple changes of running gear and plenty of warm, dry clothing for after the race.  Hopefully, we will have a typical springtime day of 35-55 degrees.  Sunshine optional.

50k Awards and T-shirts

  • Trophies to overall top finishers, both male and female. Winners receive their trophies as they finish
  • An attractive medal to all 50k finishers
  • T-shirts to all paid participants

Times will be posted at the finish line area, during and after the race.  Official results will be available on our website and Chicago Athlete.  Results will be submitted to Ultrarunning Magazine.

The following motels/hotels are conveniently located near the race course:

Days Inn Lincoln Park; 644 W. Diversey; 773-525-7010
Approx $110 per night including tax.

Best Western Hawthorne Terrace; 3434 N. Broadway; 773-244--3434;

City Suites Hotel; 933 W. Belmont; 773-404 -3400
Park Brompton Hotel; 528 W. Brompton; 773-404 -3499

Comfort Inn Lincoln Park; 601 W. Diversey; 773-348-2810;

Surf Hotel; 555 W. Surf; 773-528 -8400

Hostelling International Chicago; 211 E. Congress Parkway; 312-360-0300;