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Lakefront summer running guide (and running on Northerly Island)

Obviously I couldn't cover every bit of amazingness that is the Lakefront Trail, but I wrote a little guide to running on the lakefront during the summer for this week's issue of Newcity - the Summer Guide issue (appropriate right?). Grab a copy at any of the newsstands - there are also a bunch of other really great summer-related articles!

My write-up covers Montrose Harbor, North Avenue Beach, Oak Street Beach, Northerly Island, the hill at 47th Street and Promontory Point Park.

My favorite is still Northerly Island. I've had some great runs there, though I guess they weren't really isolated runs, they were more like mini-runs within a longer run - after all, you have to get to Northerly Island somehow.


Anyway here are two of my favorites:
  • In 2008 I was training for my first marathon (Chicago) and one of my long runs happened to coincide with the Air & Water Show. Since it was my first summer in Chicago I didn't know what a big deal the show was and how many people it would draw. I started out running just north of Castaways and quickly realized what a huge mistake I'd made. I was running through hundreds of thousands of people in some pretty oppressive heat. But when I came out the other end of the crowds, rounded the planetarium and made my way onto Northerly Island for the first time, I felt like I'd stepped into a surreal running world. After being surrounded on all sides by throngs of people, I was suddenly running in quiet solitude. Amazing juxtaposition. And it helped me get ready for heading back into the crowd for the end of the run.
  • Last summer my wife and I were running on Northerly Island when a few skateboarders came flying past us, then a few more, then a few more... we looked behind us and saw about 30 skateboarders on the trail behind us, almost all in their teens. What was impressive was how polite they were. Each skateboarder said some form of "excuse me" as they went past. After they all passed us we saw them gather at the very southern tip of the island in a group. Maybe it was some kind of summer skateboard camp or something. We ran past their group meeting and as we turned to head back north we realized that we were pretty much the only ones on the trail - just us and 40 uber-polite skateboarders.
Anyway, if you get a chance on a long run, check out Northerly Island. But don't hit it up too often okay? I kind of like running alone out there.

Comments

  1. You're so right about Northerly Island. I never explored it until I coached a bike practice there a few years ago (and rode my bike in circles before I figured out how to get onto the loop), but I was in love. Thanks for the reminder as I'm definitely going to have to run there this summer since I couldn't last year--great change up to the track.

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