Tuesday, October 20, 2020

If I Could Run Anywhere in the World...

Disclaimer: This is an update of a previously published post.

If you could run anywhere in the world, right now, in 2020, where would you choose? Would you pick a city you've never been to but is on your bucket list? An exotic locale? A place that you return to over and over again? Or a place that's as familiar to you as the street you live on?

Me, going with an old favorite, I'd choose Chicago. 



Chicago, I miss you. With the cancellation of just about every big race this year and most small ones too, I haven't run in my favorite city for a long time. The last time I ran in Chicago was in February, at a fun race at the Chicago Auto Show.

It's no secret to the blog readers that I love my hometown, Chicago. While I grew up in a small town about 50 miles outside the city, my grandparents lived in the Old Town neighborhood and I visited them frequently. I felt as much a part of the city as if I lived there. After I graduated college, I moved to the north side of Chicago. I lived and worked in the city for 10 years. Chicago is where I started running and racing. Driving into the city, whether for a visit or a race, seeing the skyline, never fails to excite me!


I've run more races in Chicago than I can count including the Chicago marathon, which I've run 3 times. Without a doubt, if I could run the Chicago marathon again, I would. I don't know that my body could hold up to the distance anymore and so now I have to be content to spectate, which is such a fun experience. I'll take whatever I can get!

Some people complain that Chicago is too big, too dirty, and too noisy. They fear crime. Runners don't like how the tall buildings mess with their GPS. The weather is definitely a challenge, but good weather or bad, there is no place I'd rather run.

So, what do I miss about running in Chicago?

The lakefront: If you've never run on the lakefront trail in Chicago, you are missing out on one of the most scenic running spots in the world, IMHO. With Lake Michigan to the east and the skyline to the west, the views can't be beat. The trail runs for 18 miles from Ardmore on the north side to 71st street on the south side. The city planners really did a wonderful job preserving the lakefront for recreational use. I've run all of it at one time or another--but not all at once! 


The start line of just about every race: All the big races start heading north on Columbus Drive and across the Chicago River. The races have taken me in a variety of directions after the start, but this is the iconic starting line. It's just like an old friend. The sight of the tall buildings gets the adrenaline flowing. If you run in Chicago, this never gets old.

At the start of the Shamrock Shuffle 2018 and every other big Chicago race

The people: I'm always amazed at the wonderful spectators that come out to cheer runners on for the big races in Chicago. No matter what the race, I love seeing the people lining the Randolph Street Bridge as we run underneath it once we start up Columbus Drive. Spectators line every mile of the marathon course. The first time I ran the marathon, it was really warm and I was so impressed by the kindness of strangers. One woman was carrying around a bowl of orange slices. Another had a big bowl of pretzels. In one neighborhood, a guy was handing out bottles of water to the runners.

Chicago Marathon 2014
Chinatown

The sites: It doesn't matter how many times we run down State Street, I still get goosebumps when we run by the Chicago Theater. I always feel like a tourist when I see one of the classic buildings--I have to stop and take a photo. I'd love to do one of those running tours once things start back up again. Fellow blogger Erica is starting her own running tour company. I hope to go out on a run with her!

Marina Towers as seen on a run

The street art: There's always been amazing graffiti and street art all over the city, but with all the unrest and protests this year, the artists have come out in force! One of my favorite neighborhoods is Pilsen, home to a large Latinx population as well as many artists. I'd love to go back and view more murals and stop by Lo Rez for some of their unique craft beers.


There's always more to explore: I've got a couple spots I want to hit in 2021. My oldest son moved to Logan Square, a fun, hip vibrant neighborhood that offers some new running opportunities for me! The 606, the boulevards...anyone want to join me?

Buckingham Fountain


If you could run anywhere in the world, right now, where would you run? @oldrunningmom #running #runchat 

Where would you run if you could go anywhere right now? 

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics and with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJenLaura, and Lisa.  








75 comments :

  1. I also love running in Chicago. I miss the lakefront since most of my runs now are around my house. I’ll do the tour with you. I just need to read the book. Have heard great things about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have done a couple of running tours. They're a LOT of fun! I've been to Chicago a few times, although not in recent years (unless you count the airport & being stuck overnight once, thankfully not at the airport).

    But I wasn't a runner then. Running along the lakefront would totally be my jam!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Chicago is an iconic running city in my book too. I've considered being one of those running tour guides. But then living out here doesn't quite work for that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If I had to pick a city you know it would be Chicago! I love everything about that city.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love running along the lakefront in Chicago. New York City's Central Park is a close second. Boston is pretty nice too. And, of course, D.C. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have yet to run in DC but hopefully that will be remedied next year!

      Delete
  6. I love running in Chicago, too. I have done a half and a full there. And the restaurants, the beer, the food, the architecture....that's it, I'm making plans to come back.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Chicago definitely is a beautiful place. The art geek in me is even more overjoyed with everything there than the runner dork is....and that's saying quite a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always been impressed by the Chicago lakefront pictures that other runner bloggers post - looks like a fantastic area to run!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I need to run a race in Chicago once my foot heals up. It's been a favorite city of mine for a long time - visiting my grandparents there as a child and then going downtown on weekends in college for museums, theater, and food.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for this! I have 'Lakefront 10-Miler" on my Christmas list. I think it's a definite now :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. When we were on our once-in-a-lifetime trip to France this past spring, we took a river tour of the Seine in Paris. Seeing the many runners on the wide banks made me a bit, no, make that very, envious. If I could run anywhere it would be there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how I felt about Big Sur! But even tho I ran in my "dream place", my favorite spot is right here at home.

      Delete
  12. I loved our RnR race even though it was pouring. I guess I will just have to come back for another one!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Would you believe the RnR this summer was my first time running in Chicago? I can't wait to get back there!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It was only after moving that I found out a company does running tours of Boston. That would've been fun to do one weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Running in Chicago is definitely on my bucket list and Devil in The White City is on my reading list.

    ReplyDelete
  16. We lived in various northside neighborhoods for almost 40 years. Now call the northwest suburbs home. Many great places to run besides the lakefront. Busse Woods, Des Plaines River Trail, Deer Grove. Chicago and its 'burbs have a lot to offer any runner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% agree! I live in the NW burbs too and I run in all those places now. We are so lucky!

      Delete
  17. I'm sad to say I've never been to Chicago! Yikes, I'd better hurry if I want the chance to run there! Running is the best way to explore any city. I really love city running tours (I've never done one, but I love the idea! :-) )

    ReplyDelete
  18. I so love running in chicago. I am not from a big city and they kind of scare me BUT I love Chicago! We always stay at a hotel that looks at the chicago theater and I take like a million pictures. I like to try and do the chicago marathon every few years so we can go back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to do the marathon one more time...it's just one of those races that you could repeat over and over!

      Delete
  19. Lou Malnati's!
    That was literally my first stop out of O'Hare when I was in town for a wedding. So good. Damnit I'm hungry.
    Never ran in Chicago but I loved walking from the Field Museum up to Navy Pier along the Lake.
    I love the idea of choosing a bucket list city for this question too

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've run in a big city a total of ONCE (Vegas), but you make Chicago sound fun! I should look into running tours when I visit cities. I haven't spent enough time in cities to feel like I have the instinct to recognize safe vs. unsafe running areas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never done a running tour either but I think it would be a great way to explore a city.

      Delete
  21. I've never been to Chicago but now you have me wanting to visit! I guess the only city I've run in is Tampa so it's my favorite. I always wanted to run one of the routes Spenser runs in Robert B Parker's novels but never got around to it when I lived somewhat near Boston. Maybe someday!

    ReplyDelete
  22. London! Nothing like running along the Thames crossing the various cool bridges. So many great buildings there too from all eras. I have only been to Chicago once, but made the most of running along the lakefront. So cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never run in London but I can imagine how amazing that would be!

      Delete
  23. I love this and Chicago Marathon is definitely on my list! Reykjavik has to be my own favourite, I've decided after reading a million of these posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard such good things about Reykjavik and I think I'd like it too.

      Delete
    2. Let's all do the mara or half one year! How cool would that be? It's half way between the US and UK, after all ...

      Delete
    3. Sounds like a plan! I need to get my hubs on board..

      Delete
  24. Definitely want to race in Chicago. I went there once for a conference but before I was a runner. It is a beautiful city.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'll see you for the next Shamrock Shuffle! The backstory is it's the same weekend as spring break so we're always in CHI that weekend to visit my SIL. After two straight years of FOMO I was finally registered this year and I guess we all know how that turned out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope hope hope that it happens!!!! If it does, you know I'll be there.

      Delete
  26. I love this!! Thank you for sharing your city! When my friend visited Chicago last year she ran along the lakefront. She also did a race and just loved the whole experience. Everything you've shared looks amazing and I'd especially love finding all the artwork. That's something I'm always drawn to when I run.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You know how much I love Chicago and I really miss not being able to visit this year. There's just something about the city that always draws me in - it's amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Chicago is a city that I've still never visited but has been on my list for a while. It would be amazing to run the marathon there one day but in general I'd love to just run through the city streets!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, yes, I definitely want to join you, Wendy! I have never been to Chicago but it looks like an AWESOME city.
    The only city marathon I did in the US was the NY marathon. The crowds were amazing - so loud, so cheerful, so supportive. It was heartwarming, I have never seen or heard anything like it. I would love to experience the Chicago crowds one day.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Chicago definitely has a lot to offer. I always look forward to exploring the sights on foot when we visit. I'll never forget the first time I found the Bean, all on my own, without the use of technology for navigation LOL

    ReplyDelete
  31. I haven't been to Chicago in so long! I'd love to do the marathon there one day. I also miss big races and just the excitement of events like marathons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a fun event. There's nothing like it--except maybe New York.

      Delete
  32. My SIL lived in Chicago for a while, so we have been there a few times (they moved away a long time ago though). I wasn't a runner when I visited them. Oddly her ex was. Would you believe we never got to the lake?! I would LOVE to run there!

    Other trivia: I also flew out to Chicago about 36 years ago on a job interview. I did not choose that job. I had no desire to live somewhere so cold & snowy -- after growing up in upstate NY (although south of where I love now ) and going to school in western NY, I wanted to go somewhere warmer. I got a job in MD. I lived there one year, got married, and moved to VT!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love that you picked your hometown as your favorite! I loved running in Chicago and can't wait to come back and visit. I do miss running down by the monuments lately but things are little dicey :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Aw, I love that. I love running in NYC. There's just something about urban running that really speaks to me and I love when I have the chance to do it.

    I can't wait for us all to get back to the people and places and things we love.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've never run in Chicago but I'd love to come and run with you and Erica. I'd also love to go back to Paris. It's been years but my husband and I had a favorite route that would take us from the Eiffel Tower, past the Arc de Triomphe, and, of course, to Notre Dame.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Well, you know how I feel about running here. I also love it. However, I haven't been out in a long time to the lakefront. I run early in the morning and it is too dark for me.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've never run in Chicago but it sure does look lovely! I miss running in Seattle sometimes - there were so many beautiful trails and parks!

    ReplyDelete