The Chicago Marathon

Author: Andrew Suozzo
The first book-length study of the city’s great annual contest
Paper – $20.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2006
Cloth: 10/16/2006
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About the Book

In The Chicago Marathon, Andrew Suozzo reveals this citywide ritual as far more than a simple race. Providing a full-spectrum look at the event’s production and participants, Suozzo shows how the elements that comprise the marathon also reflect modern Chicago’s politics, its people, and the ways the city engages with the wider world.

The book encompasses all of the forces that come together to make the race the spectacle it has become today. Beginning with a brisk history of the marathon, Suozzo leads readers from its origins in Greek mythology to its modern reality, and also along its rocky road to international prominence. He investigates the roles of sponsorship, small-business support, and the city’s intervention on behalf of the marathon, as well as the alliances the event has forged with the media and charity fundraisers. He also discusses race management and the grassroots support that ultimately make it possible, with a special perspective on the aid station directors and volunteers. Finally, The Chicago Marathon features numerous interviews with the runners themselves, ranging from world-renowned professional athletes to amateurs with diverse backgrounds and abilities.

About the Author

Andrew Suozzo is a professor of modern languages at DePaul University. He is the author of The Comic Novels of Charles Sorel and coauthor of Teaching French Culture: Theory and Practice. His article “The Chicago Marathon and Urban Renaissance” won the Russel B. Nye Award. Suozzo is also an avid amateur runner.


"His detailed in-depth analysis of the marathon will still astound even the biggest marathon trivia nut."--Chicago Athlete Magazine

"Using a staggering number of interviews, Suozzo makes a compelling case that the Chicago Marathon is much more important than just a weekend run around Chicago's neighborhoods. . . . Whether it is the intricacies of corporate sponsorship or the ways the race is used to raise money for various causes, Suozzo tackles it all in depth and provides the reader with a comprehensive view of how a major event like a marathon is put together."--Chicago Tribune


“Suozzo goes far beyond the history of a specific race, examining the marathon both as a societal movement and a personal quest for our age. All aspects of the race--from initial planning to the runners themselves-- are presented with the thoroughness of an academic and the understanding of a participant. The Chicago Marathon will appeal to all who are interested in marathoners and the role of marathons in the modern world.”--Jonathan Beverly, editor in chief, Running Times

“The urban marathon has been called ‘a moving spectacle’ and Andrew Suozzo has captured more of the moving parts than any other writer. Most marathon books dig no deeper than the winners and their great performances. The Chicago Marathon uncovers how the organizers, sponsors, runners, and neighborhoods mesh together to create a magnificent event.”--Amby Burfoot, executive editor, Runner’s World magazine and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon


Received the Hal Higdon Journalism Award, recognizing serious journalism about running from the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA, 2007).