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Marathon sign-up: Now, rather than later

Three-time U.S. Olympian and 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon team member Abdi Abdirahman is introduced before leading a three mile fun run starting at Fleet Feet Sports on Wells Street that marked the start of registration for the 35th anniversary of the Chicago Bank of America Marathon. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

A heads up to runners (and couch potatoes): Feb. 1 was the first day you can sign up for the 35th Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

And though the Oct. 7 race is more than eight months away – and deciding to go for a 26.2-mile jog may be daunting – don’t dawdle; last year the marathon filled to its capacity of 45,000 in record time – just 31 days.

And it’s a record that may be broken – especially with the momentum of thousands of cooped-up runners who hit the streets in Chicago Tuesday as the mercury freakishly flirted with the 60-degree mark.

The marathon, which draws elite runners from all over the world, will take place just eight weeks after the men’s and women’s Olympic marathon in London, presenting a unique challenge in recruiting Olympic runners to Chicago.

“Some athletes may recover enough to run here, some may not,” said Chicago Marathon race director Carey Pinkowski. “If not, I think there will be a lot of other athletes that will fit well in Chicago,” he said.

Also, one good thing for the average runner to know: the registration fee for the Chicago Marathon was raised this year by $5 to $150.