Chicago On Foot: Running In The Windy City

Photo: Chicago Quarter Marathon sign welcoming runners to the event on April 15, 2017. ( Emily M. Wallace )

Photo: Chicago Quarter Marathon sign welcoming runners to the event on April 15, 2017. (Emily M. Wallace)

Chicago-Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Inhale, exhale. Deep breaths. Emily Wallace falls into a steady pace on the waterfront trails outlining Lake Michigan. Her Spotify playlist helping her maintain a steady tempo against a blusterous headwind, Wallace sets out on an eight-mile jog.

With the weather growing warmer, sidewalk traffic picks up as runners replace the treadmill for pavement. On any given day, an individual can expect to be passed by at least three individuals out for a jog. After a long and brisk winter, the running community takes to the pathways of the Windy City, racing up and down streets named after presidents and discovering unseen treasures along the way.

“Every time I go for a run,” starts Wallace, “I try to cut through random streets and change my route, so I always see a new restaurant or store. Running helps me discover the endless possibilities of Chicago.”

While running is far cheaper than a CTA pass, it also awards a plethora of health benefits. For starters, regular cardio helps keep one’s ticker fine-tuned and maintains bone strength.

“I enjoy running because I can eat what I want and still fit into my wardrobe,” with a laugh, Wallace adds, “the stress-relief and influx of endorphins are both perks though!”

Currently, Wallace is gearing up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, just one of the multiple races happening this summer in the city.

This past weekend, the Chicago Quarter Marathon took place in Grant Park. A little more laborious than the usual 5k race, this 6.55-mile event takes participants along the lakeshore and towards Soldier Field.  The event is a mile marker for those running in the Chicago Spring Half Marathon on May 21st.

For many, the Chicagoland spring and summer racing series serves as a training platform for a larger arena: The Chicago Marathon. The event, which occurs in October, is one of the top five largest marathons in the United States. Participants from across the country travel to the Windy City to cover the famous 26.2-mile terrain.

“Running in this city is a gift. With so many places to see, no wonder people flock to it just to exercise. Chicago is meant to be explored with a pair of running shoes.”

Kira Latoszewski