Hustle Chicago FAQ

Have questions about the 2021 event? We developed a list of frequently asked questions to address your concerns and help you better understand how this year’s climb will work. Click on the down arrow in each box to show the answer.

Still can’t find what you need? Email us at [email protected] or call 312-628-0210.

General Event and Safety Information

How will you prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep climbers safe?

We are taking several precautions to make sure the safety of all participants is prioritized and will continue to monitor and follow guidance from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). This includes any restrictions on the size of in-person gatherings.

  • Outdoor event: Hosting this year’s climb in the open air, where COVID-19 spread is known to be less likely, means we can offer a safe experience. In addition, staff at Soldier Field will be onsite and following strict procedures for cleaning and sanitizing, including restroom areas. We will also limit contact between event staff and participants by eliminating check-in and gear/coat checks.
  • Masks required: All participants will be required to wear a mask throughout their time at Soldier Field, including while they climb.
  • Social distancing: In addition to a reduced capacity event, social distancing guidelines will be enforced throughout the stadium. Each staging area of the climb will have six-foot markers to keep climbers spaced apart, and climbers will only be allowed to start their climb once the individual in front of them reaches a pre-identified marker. Additionally, Soldier Field’s wide common spaces and walkways allow for social distancing – which will also include designed crowd flow patterns to assist in keeping people at an appropriate distance from each another. Restroom areas at Soldier Field will be open throughout the 400 level of the stadium with limited capacity at any given time.

Do I have to wear a mask during the event?

Yes. For everyone’s safety and to follow public health recommendations, masks must be worn from the time participants enter until the time they leave.

PLEASE NOTE: Bandanas, face gators, and shields may not be substituted for masks.

How will the Soldier Field climb work?

Participants will climb in one of eight assigned sections of the stadium’s upper deck (400 level), in waves that include eight climbers. Climbers will go in loops, taking the stairs of their designated section up and down as many times as they can during a 20-minute period. Each stair section will be designated for one-way foot traffic and climber start times will be spaced out by 20 seconds to follow social distancing guidelines.

  • For your safety and the safety of all participants, we will ask you always keep a six-feet distance from other climbers during the event. Due to the limited width of stairways at Soldier Field, climbers should not pass others in front of them. However, we encourage slower moving participants to move into seating rows as necessary to allow climbers behind them a way to safely move ahead. The design of our climb loops will allow participants to step out of the stairway path and into seating rows as needed, ensuring we can maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Due to the need for social distancing, we will not be tracking individual climb times. Climbers are welcome to bring their own fitness trackers or timing devices with them if they wish to record their progress.
  • Event staff will time and release climbers to begin their 20-minute time slot individually.

Note: Climbing 7-8 full loops (up and down) is most like the 1,632 stairs at our traditional 875 N. Michigan Ave. climb (formerly known as John Hancock Center).

What if I need a break or cannot finish my climb?

If you need to take a break while climbing, the seating area in each section will be open. We will ask climbers to step at least six feet into an empty row to take a break and then re-enter at a time they can keep enough distance from another climber. If climbers are unable to finish, they can notify a volunteer and exit their designated loop.

Will there be food and water available?

Bottled water stations will be available at the staging area before you start your climb and right after. There will also be bananas available once you complete your climb.

What happens if there’s rain or snow on event day?

We will host the event rain (or snow) or shine. Soldier Field personnel can prepare the stadium under reasonable weather conditions. In the event of any extreme inclement weather, Soldier Field will notify Respiratory Health Association and Hustle Chicago of any decisions within 24 hours of the event. Event organizers will then notify participants via email of any last-minute changes, cancellations, rescheduling, etc.

How many steps are at this year’s Hustle Chicago?

Each section of Soldier Field has between 104-110 steps to the top and 104-110 steps down. The number of steps each climber takes will depend on how many loops they make.

Where do I get my registration packet?

We will mail your packet to the address provided during registration. If you are on a team, you will have your packet mailed directly to you this year, not your team captain. All participants will receive their packet through either USPS or UPS at no additional shipping cost. Packets will include a moisture-wicking event shirt and bib.

Where do I go on event day?

Climbers should enter Soldier Field through Gate 45 across from the Field Museum (on McFetridge Drive) and proceed up the Plaza walkway. To ensure everyone’s safety and limit contact with climbers, we will ship everything you need for event day to the address provided at registration. Please remember to bring the bib included in your registration packet as this is required for entry into the stadium.

What can I bring with me to climb?

We encourage you to “pack light” and only bring what you can carry as we will not offer gear or coat check this year. You may bring a small backpack, but you must always keep it with you while inside Soldier Field.

Can I invite guests to watch me climb?

No, we will not allow guests this year. To ensure the safety of all participants and to help with social distancing, only participants with an event bib will be allowed into Soldier Field on event day.

Can I pick my start time? How will I find out when my climb starts?

Only Lung Health Champions (people who register at our highest fundraising commitment) can request a start time. These times are not guaranteed, but we do our best to accommodate requests as a thank you for their outstanding fundraising commitment.

We list all climb times on event bibs. You will receive this in the mail along with your other registration materials prior to event day. Start times are final and cannot be changed.

What should I know about arriving at Soldier Field on event day?

If you are driving to the event, parking is available in the North Garage on Museum Campus Drive. Parking is available for a $25 flat fee with no time limit that day. Soldier Field security and management will be onsite throughout the event. Bag checks are at the discretion of Soldier Field security personnel and may be required (and will follow venue regulations).

What is your refund policy?

If we are unable to host the event on April 18 due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will work with Soldier Field to reschedule the in-person climb (if possible). If we are unable to continue with a Soldier Field climb in 2021, participants will have the option to either move to our virtual option or receive a refund of your registration fee. All fundraising efforts for Respiratory Health Association as part of the 2021 climb are non-refundable, including the $100 fundraising minimum due at registration. Virtual climbers cannot receive a refund of their $35 registration fee.

If we can no longer host an in-person event, climbers have three options:

  1. Participate in the event as a virtual climber. RHA will retain full $55 registration fee and $100 fundraising minimum as donation.
  2. Participate in the event as a virtual climber and request partial refund of fees. RHA will refund $20 difference between the in-person and virtual event registration fee. RHA will retain $100 minimum as donation.
  3. Cancel your registration and request a refund of $55 registration fee. RHA retains $100 minimum as donation.

I don’t feel comfortable climbing in-person. Can I still participate?

Yes! We encourage people to consider our first-ever Hustle Chicago virtual experience – a fun, interactive fitness journey you can take (virtually) with other lung health heroes. Registration for the virtual climb is $35 and includes a t-shirt and finisher medal. We also welcome virtual participants to fundraise in support of Respiratory Health Association, but it is not required.

Registration and Fundraising

Registration will open on a rolling basis beginning January 21. People who commit to raising at least $1,000 as Lung Health Champions will have first access to registration, followed by pre-determined fundraising levels spaced out over the following weeks. As event capacity for this year is reduced significantly, and registration will close once full, we encourage people to register as soon as possible to secure a spot.

How much does the event cost?

Every climber will pay $155 upfront to register for the in-person event. This includes a $55 registration fee, which covers event costs and provides each participant with event materials, a specially designed t-shirt, and finisher medal. It also includes a $100 donation minimum, which will be applied toward a participant’s fundraising goal. All donations directly support Respiratory Health Association’s community lung health work.

Our rolling registration is divided into a series of fundraising commitment levels, starting at a $1,000 minimum, and ending with our final registration level which requires $100 in fundraising.


What do the event registration fees cover?

Every climber’s $55 registration fee includes:

  • Exclusive access to designated areas of Solider Field on event day
  • Name recognition on the iconic stadium LED ribbon
  • Access to the Hustle Chicago interactive virtual event
  • A personalized fundraising platform and leaderboard
  • A fundraising coach to help reach your individual pledge amount
  • Souvenir short sleeve event shirt
  • An event bib with personal number and climb time
  • A color finisher medal
  • Bottled water and post-climb banana to re-fuel
  • Designated areas in the stadium to take photos
  • Registration packet mailing
  • The ultimate fitness challenge and memories to last a lifetime!

Additional incentives are available for each fundraising level, which all require a $100 upfront payment that goes toward a climber’s overall fundraising goal.

Lung Health Champions ($1000 fundraising minimum):

  • Your name on Soldier Field jumbotron
  • Special LHC event shirt
  • Hustle Chicago® Touchdown Football Cutting & Cheese Board/Serving Tray
  • Ribbon recognition on race bib
  • Opportunity to choose your climb time

Quarterback ($500 fundraising minimum): Hustle Chicago® winter style hat

Wide Receiver ($250 fundraising minimum): Hustle Chicago® tall athletic custom woven socks

Kicker ($100 fundraising minimum): Hustle Chicago® ornament trinket

To be eligible for incentive prizes, all donations/pledges/sponsorships must be received online or in RHA’s office by May 7, 2021. RHA reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal value. Prizes are not cumulative; fundraisers receive the prize in their winning category only. Some expiration dates may apply. Prizes will be mailed around mid-June 2021.

What are the registration levels?

The 2021 climb’s registration levels are divided up by minimum fundraising requirements (pledges). People who make the highest fundraising commitment, Lung Health Champions, can register first on January 21. If you want to commit to a lower fundraising minimum, you will be able to register (if spots are still available) once that level opens. As the event may sell out quickly, there is no guarantee every registration level will open before reaching our event capacity.

Lung Health Champions | $1,000 fundraising commitment ($155 due at time of registration)

Quarterback Level | $500 fundraising commitment ($155 due at time of registration)

Wide Receiver Level | $250 fundraising commitment ($155 due at time of registration)

Kicker Level | $100 fundraising commitment ($155 due at time of registration)

Virtual Climber | $35 registration fee only (no fundraising required)

Why do I have to pay a pledge upfront?

Your $100 minimum pledge to participate in this year’s climb at Soldier Field will support Respiratory Health Association’s important lung health work. Event participants like you share and support RHA’s vision of healthy lungs and clean air for all. Your donation makes it possible to raise lung disease awareness, provide programs to help people living with lung disease, fund research into finding new treatments for lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer, and to advocate clean air policies to help everyone breathe easier.

When can I register for the 2021 climb?

We have designated dates when each registration level is available. As we may reach event capacity before reaching each level, we encourage people to secure their spot early.

Lung Health Champion ($1,000 fundraising pledge) | Thursday, January 21 at 8 am

Quarterback ($500 fundraising pledge) | Wednesday, February 3 at 8 am

Wide Receiver ($250 fundraising pledge) | Wednesday, February 17 at 8 am

Kicker ($100 fundraising pledge) | Wednesday, February 24 at 8 am

Virtual Climb (no required fundraising pledge) | Thursday, January 21 at 8 am

When does registration close?

Spots in the 2021 climb are limited. Unless sold out prior, team registration closes March 19 and individual registration closes April 2.

When is the fundraising deadline?

Friday, May 7. If you signed up for the in-person event at the Wide Receiver, Quarterback, or Lung Health Champion level and have not met your fundraising goal by this date, we will charge the outstanding balance to the card you used while registering.

I’m doing the virtual climb. Can I still fundraise for Respiratory Health Association?

Yes, and we love your enthusiasm! While you are not required to fundraise as a virtual climber, we welcome your additional support of healthy lungs and clean air for all.

Can I register someone else?

Yes, you can register additional participants when registering yourself.


How do I get scheduled at the same time as another participant?

Consider creating a team to make sure you climb in the same wave as someone else. Teams only require a two-person minimum. If you are not creating a team and would like to climb together, please email us at [email protected] as soon as you and your climb partner register to request the same time. However, we cannot guarantee you will be placed together unless you create a team due to limited waves and our safety protocols. We will do our best to accommodate these requests.

Will there be an Elite division or Firefighter division this year? 

No, not for this year’s climb. To adhere to social distancing requirements, this event will not be timed. We still welcome both Elite and Firefighter athletes to join us!

Is there an age limit to participate?

Yes, you must be 5 years or older to climb. Climbers are not allowed to carry a child with them.

I registered but can no longer participate. Can someone substitute for me?

Yes, you can have someone substitute in your place if you no longer wish to take part in the event. The payment should be handled between the original participant and the participant substituting. Contact us at [email protected] to obtain a substitution form.

Can I volunteer at this year’s climb?

Yes, we are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s climb. Please note:

  • There are limited spots this year.
  • Only official staff, participants and volunteers will be allowed to enter.
  • This event will be held outdoors at Soldier Field.
  • Volunteers should be physically fit as assignments involve standing, walking, climbing stairs, helping with supplies, etc.
  • Volunteers are to be at least 18 years of age.
  • Fundraising is optional but welcomed. Help us raise money for healthy lungs and clean air for all!

Register to volunteer

If you have any questions, please reach out to Grizelda at [email protected].


As in years past, we once again welcome teams to climb together! To keep everyone safe, we have made a few changes to this process for our 2021 climb at Soldier Field.

I’m climbing with a team. Do I have to fundraise on my own?

Yes. All team members are responsible for meeting the fundraising minimum of their individual registration level. If you register at the Lung Health Champion level, for example, you would be responsible for raising $1,000. If you register at the Wide Receiver level, you would need to raise $500.

Can I create a team with both in-person and virtual climbers?

No, teams must include either all in-person (at Soldier Field) climbers OR all virtual climbers. Any teams mixed between the two options will be altered to reflect this.

I’m a captain registering a team for the virtual climb. Is there anything I need to do differently?

If registering a virtual-only climb team, we ask that you add ‘Virtual’ to the beginning of your team name (i.e., Virtual Stair Steppers).

Does it cost more to climb with a team?

No, there will not be a team fee for the 2021 climb.

How many people can be on a team?

This year we are limiting team sizes to between 2 and 8 people. No spots will be held for climbers on your team; spots are available first come, first served. Teams must be made up of either only climbers participating in-person at Soldier Field OR only virtual climbers.

How can teams get their registration packets?

This year, we will mail each individual team member their own packet. Team captains will not be responsible for distributing event materials to team members.

Can our team get a professional photo?

To maintain social distancing and keep climbers safe, we will not take team photos this year.

I want to organize a team of coworkers. Are you still offering the Corporate Climb?

Yes! We are again encouraging workplace teams to join us at the 2021 climb. The same team restrictions will apply to Corporate Climb teams. If you’d like more information or want to join us this year as a Corporate Climb team, find more information here. Have questions? Reach out to Rebecca Weinberg-Doptis at [email protected].

Learn more about the Corporate Climb





Have another question? Please reach out to our Special Events department at [email protected].