A city that's infamous for its pizza, gangsters and wind, Chicago also happens to be a fantastic town for running. Being situated on the shores of Lake Michigan offers advantages that are both aesthetic and practical, which may be part of why the city has one of the largest marathons in the country. Here’s your chance to learn more about how to boost your running experience in the Midwest's metropolis.
We also asked Chicago native and avid runner Ken Chin to recommend some good spots to run in the Windy City, as well as some fun upcoming events for runners. Here are his thoughts on a few of his favorites…
THE CITY’S BEST URBAN RUNNING TRAILS
The traffic on the limestone path between North Ave. and Belmont Ave. is primarily all runners, so you don't have to worry about bikes or tourists like you do on the main bicycle path. It’s also a great alternative to avoid the heavy beach foot traffic.
Located on the city’s north side, right on Lake Michigan.
Speaking of Montrose, Cricket Hill, nestled right in the middle of a 1-mile loop, is the most popular place in the city for runners looking to get in some hill work. (For more good hills, you can head down by McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field; it's not a very populated spot, except for those who live down in "the loop.”
Uptown, at Montrose Drive & Marine.
North Avenue Beach
Running south on the path right around North Avenue will give you a great view of the city, particularly the Hancock Building. You’ll also come upon a place called Castaways, a bar/restaurant resembling a big beach house, which offers restrooms and water fountains that are often huge necessities during a lakefront run!
Castaways is located at 1603 N Lake Shore Drive.
Running here, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on the city’s infamous "Cloud Gate" installation piece, also known as "The Bean.”
Cloud Gate is in AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park - 55 N. Michigan Ave.
One recognizable sight in the park is Buckingham Fountain, which you may remember from the opening credits of "Married with Children." The park is also home of many summer festivals, including the infamous Lollapalooza, and was the site of President Barack Obama’s victory speech in 2008.
Buckingham Fountain is in the dead center of Grant Park, close to the Van Buren St. station.
More great city views await you on the man-made peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. If you run a couple more miles south from here, you’ll come upon the South Shore Cultural Center, which is the official end of "the path."
Located inside Burnham Park.
The running path near the Adler Planetarium has a great southern view of the city, and is right along the water.
Museum Campus is huge; the Planetarium is located at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dive.
Lake Shore Park
With a landscape totaling almost six acres, this park is one of the city’s true gems.
Located on the Near North Side.
UPCOMING RUNNING EVENTS
Chicago Women's Half Marathon and 5K
Chicago’s women’s-only Half Marathon, this 5K event is held in beautiful Grant Park.
June 23rd. For more info, click here.
Home Team Charity Run
Three of Chicago's iconic sports franchises team up for the 3rd Annual 10K/5K Home Team Charity. The Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox will support the run with 25 percent of runners' registration fees being paid for equally by each team's charity.
July 14th. For more info, click here.
XSport Fitness Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon
This unique half marathon combines running and music, and turns the average road race into a weekend-long event. Its many features include a scenic course, live bands and post-race concert, cheerleaders, themed water stations at every mile, and a finish line festival. Every participant gets a t-shirt and finisher’s medal, and awards are also given in all age divisions.
July 21st. For more info, click here.
Yes, it’s pretty much just like it sounds. The “Undie Dash” features hundreds of underwear-clad runners taking to the lakefront path. The event benefits Bright Pink, an organization that empowers young women to take control of their breast and ovarian health.
July 25th. For more info, click here.
Terrapin 5K & Music Festival
It's a race, a party, a music fest and a massive beer garden all in one. This is the perfect way to start the weekend (…on a Thursday).
August 1st. For more info, click here.
BOOSTING YOUR RUN
adidas Sport Performance Stores have all the footwear, apparel and gear that runners of all levels need. The flagship location in the Windy City can be found at:
adidas Sport Performance Store
Water Tower Place
845 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 409
Chicago, IL 60611
Head here for locations both in and around Chicago.