CMBS Custom Invite List

Big Shoulders

Saturday, September 7, 2024

Big Shoulders 5K and 2.5K

Open Water Registration


Registration Schedule

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Swimmer Registration Wed, May 22, 2024
10:00 AM
Mon, May 27, 2024
11:59 PM

The 33rd Annual Big Shoulders 

5K & 2.5K Open Water Swim Classic

Saturday, September 7, 2024, 8:00 AM at Ohio Street Beach, Chicago

Many event updates are sent by email. 
Our Facebook Group also shows recent news.
Scroll down to learn about merchandise sales and hotel.

    RACE DAY SCHEDULE: 8:00 AM start for first wave of 5K Swim. 8:20 AM start for first wave of 2.5K Swim. Checkin begins at 6:30 AM. Course Briefing at 7:40 AM. Waves seeded by time for 1st heat, then by age and distance.

    SANCTION: Sanctioned by Illinois Masters Swimming Association for USMS, Inc.

    COURSE/TIMING: Triangular 2.5K course; marked both by buoys and lifeguards in row boats. (Click to go to website with course map and aerial view of course.) Swimmers start in the water, and finish with a run up the beach. Water temps have varied between 63-80°F. D Tag timing system used.

    PARKING: Discounted Parking is available (details to follow). Stop by the announcer's table at the race for a discount ticket.

    QUESTIONS? Check out, our Facebook, or email

    CHANGES? New this year, you can edit your race distance and wetsuit category yourself before August 31, 2024. Click on your own name on the Athlete Roster and proceed through to make your changes.

    ONLINE REGISTRATION: Register for the race online for speed, accuracy and email receipt.  No mail-in registration offered. Online registrations are paid by credit card to "BIGSHOULDERS".

    ELITE WAVE: The 70 fastest seed times provided for the 5K Non-Wetsuit Division will swim in the Elite Wave of the 5K that starts first.

    USMS REGISTRATION: You must be a USMS member (or international equivalent) to compete in Big Shoulders. Online race registration begins with USMS membership verification. You may join or renew USMS membership at One Event Membership to USMS is available when you proceed through event registration.

    RACE DAY ENTRIES: Race Day Entries are not available. Race has sold out the past 14 years. There will be no refunds, no waitlist, no deferrals, no transfers and no whining.

    REFUNDS: NO refunds, no deferrals, no transfers, no whining.

    RULES: All swimmers are required to wear the supplied fluorescent silicone swim caps for safety reasons. Current USMS Open Water rules will apply.

    Registration will open at 10am Central time zone on March 1, 2024.
    Registration for the 5K will close when entries reach 800.
    Registration for the 2.5K will close when entries reach 400.
    There will be no waitlists.
    Entry Fee is $100.00. If spots remain after March 1, 2024, the entry fee will be $200.00.
    Processing fees $7.40.

    Online registrations are paid by credit card to "BIGSHOULDERS".

    NOTE – Race entry fee does not include USMS membership fees or processing fees.
    All participants will receive a shirt at the race, and in past years collectible items like coffee mugs, swimming products, etc. An assortment of pre and post race food and drink will be available to participants also.


    • One high quality collectible t-shirt is included with entry fee! Extra shirts may be purchased for an additional $15.00.
    • All other Big Shoulders Merchandise is sold by A3 and is available now at this link. Our friends at A3 have absolutely outdone themselves. Tons of cool options this year. Order deadline is July 9 for September delivery.

    WETSUITS: Swimmers wearing wetsuits are welcome to register in the Wetsuit Division, but will not be started in the elite wave and will not be eligible for age group awards. However, swimmers wearing any suits approved by USMS will be permitted to swim and be tabulated with the age group swimmers.

    Swimmers will be permitted to switch to the wetsuit division without penalty up to 5 days before the event.  If the water temperature is forecast to be below 65, swimmers will be permitted to switch to the wetsuit division on race day.  If the water is below 60 degrees on race day, swimmers will be required to wear a wetsuit or demonstrate sufficient cold water open water experience to the race committee.

    Angel Swimmers: Available for only for the 2.5K. Angel Swimmers are experienced open water swimmers who will accompany you around the course to provide advice and comfort. However, they are not trained lifesavers.

    AWARDS & RESULTS: Each finisher will receive a finisher’s award. Results will be posted on the internet at Wetsuit swimmers are scored for top three male and female overall.

    LODGING: Courtyard by Marriott - Magnificent Mile has once again carved out a block of rooms at the discount rate of $215/night for Sept 6 - Sept 8. The hotel is 3 blocks from the race start, and in a great area for restaurants, site seeing and shopping. To reserve a room, go to this link, or call 1-800-321-2211 and reference the Big Shoulders block, or code BST.

    DIRECTIONS: Race begins at Ohio Street Beach. To access Ohio Street Beach, exit Lake Shore Drive from either north or south at the Grand/Illinois exit and head east towards the lake.

    COURSE MAP: Map shows course used for the past several years. One lap around the course is 2.5K, two laps is 5K. Course is subject to change depending upon race day conditions.

    Meet Course:

    Note: If paying by credit card, your credit card statement will reflect a charge from "BIGS SWIM."

    Online Registration closed on 5/27/2024.
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