The swim is held in Monroe Harbor, with the start line at Balbo Dr. and Lake Shore Drive. International swimmers first head south, swimming parallel to the sea wall for 380 yards. They then make a 180 degree left turn and continue north, passing the start area and exiting the water just south of the Chicago Yacht Club. Sprint swimmers head directly north, swimming parallel to the sea wall and exit just south of the Chicago Yacht Club.
After exiting the water, participants run north along a carpeted path for approximately 450 yards. Transition is located on the grass reserve south of Randolph Street and east of Lake Shore Dr. Participants enter transition from the south end, then exit (on bike) at the north end adjacent to Randolph Street.
The bike course begins by accessing the on-ramp to northbound upper Lake Shore Dr. The course heads north using the inner two lanes. Riders continue on Lake Shore Drive until a turnaround near Foster and then return on the inner two lanes (heading south). At Chicago Avenue, the international distance competitors U-turn to complete another lap of the section to Foster. The course finishes with a U-turn onto the southbound Randolph entrance ramp back into transition.
The Bike In access to transition is adjacent to Randolph on the right hand side of the bike exit. The flow for this transition is north to south with the run exit being slightly west of the swim entry.
The run course begins at the grass reserve just south of Randolph. Competitors run south on the middle (asphalt) sidewalk/path. At Buckingham Fountain they continue on the grass until they rejoin the asphalt path. They continue on this path until they reach the Museum campus where they connect with the lake front path and continue running south. Sprint competitors cross Waldron Dr., where they turn around and head north, keeping left of oncoming runners on the same path. The turnaround for international runners will be approximately a half-mile south of McCormick Place. There they turn around and head north, keeping left of oncoming runners on the same path. Both groups will pass the Shedd Aquarium, continuing west under the Lake Shore Drive underpass and up the sidewalk to Columbus Dr. All runners will then make a right and continue north on Columbus to the finish line just ahead.