Chicago's first marathon was run on September 23, 1905. The newly created Illinois Athletic Club sponsored the event. Fifteen runners were to participate in the inaugural event. The race included 1904 marathon silver medalist Albert Corey as well as 17-year-old Sidney Hatch, a silver medalist from a 1904 relay team. The race was set to start at the Evanston Golf Club.
From Evanston, the runners would proceed east toward the lake, where they'd turn south and head into the city and through Grant Park. Unlike the modern marathon, the runners would continue south and cross the finish line in front of a crowd packing the grandstands at the Washington Park horse-racing track.
Throughout the race runners were escorted by cyclists and race officials in automobiles. As the race progressed, the crowd of spectators grew larger. No amount of support would help 12 of the runners overcome what would seemingly be an insurmountable obstacle. The leading three runners hustled across the Rush Street Bridge. However, the remaining runners on the north side of the river were required to take an unwanted hiatus. The Rush Street Bridge was called into action and swiveled open, allowing a steamer to slip past. This interruption all but ended the chances of the stranded runners catching the leaders.
As the leaders approached Washington Park, Rhud Mezner of the Illinois Athletic Club distanced himself from the other runners. In front of 15,000 paying spectators, Mezner crossed the finish line first, winning the inaugural Chicago Marathon.
Check out Chicago Marathon by Raymond Britt for a look at fantastic photos of the original Chicago Marathon.