A field guide to "The Windy City"

Fall is upon us, and that means marathon season is here. Folks from all over are making the journey to major cities across the world to turn a destination race into a weekend runaway. Among those cities is, of course, Chi-Town itself, where a variety of Saucony's finest are eager to share the best way to experience a city: by running it! In this field guide, RUNAWAYS: Chicago, we invite you to meet our local #SauconyHurricaneTeam & #SauconyZealotTeam ambassadors and let them help you navigate The Windy City just in time for Marathon Weekend!



Must Run

Trust the locals - they know the best spots!

Lakefront Trail 

A "for shore" spot to go running or cycling while you're in town. Wake up early and catch the sunrise on this 18 mile path along the coast of Lake Michigan, with beautiful views of the city. You won't regret it.

The 606 

An elevated 2.7 mile trail for runners and bikers, featuring art installations and landscape design that create an urban oasis.

Lincoln Park

This community in North Side has access to sandy lake front views. It's the perfect place for a post run dip in the summer, or in the fall if you have the grit to take on the soul-chilling waters of Lake Michigan.

Chicago Marathon Course Tips

Words of wisdom from those with experience in Chi-Town: how to run your best race on the famously flat course that just begs for a PR!

Kate DeProsperis - 1999 (3:48), 2000 (3:34), 2006 (3:04), 2007 (3:10)

  • It is flat and fast but can get windy depending on the direction of the wind - try to draft off someone if weather is significantly windy.
  • In the last few miles you can count down the street numbers to keep you engaged and keep your eyes up am aiming for the Willis Tower when going south and then coming back north towards the finish.
  • Be prepared for the last "hill" at Roosevelt Road - it is in the last half mile and it is pretty significant incline before the final turn to the finish -- just keep plugging away and take it strong!

Ryan Giuliano - 2005 (2:37), 2008 (2:43), 2011 (2:29)

  • Arrive early!  It takes a long time to get through the crowds and you don’t want to miss the start. 
  • Start slower than normal.  With the size of the race and flat nature of the course, it is easy to get swept up and start running too quickly.  
  • Don’t forget about the “small” hill in the last mile of the race. If you are going after a certain time, the hill up Roosevelt just before the finish can slow your last mile down quite a bit… so be ready for it!

Jacqui Giuliano - 2007 (4:21:50), 2008 (3:25:06), 2009 (2:56:58)

  • The last 400m has an incline (overpass) that then leads to the's not horrible, but if you don't know it's coming, it hurts!!
  • It is SUPER easy to go out too hard since there are more spectators in the beginning. Really stay within your pace goal.
  • Pace leaders are generally really awesome and ON, so if you can, tuck in with the group. It's always easier to run with someone than solo!

Jenny Poore - 2011 (3:32:53)

  • Soak up every ounce of that crowd support through mile 20, but don't let it get to your head. It gets a little lonely from Mile 21-24 so you'll need to bank a bit of mental energy through the finish.
  • Anticipate running the bridges over the river toward the middle, as opposed to the sides. The grates are covered with carpets but they don't reach the entire width of the bridge. Footing can be tricky on the edges!
  • Runners in Chicago joke about "Mount Roosevelt", which is basically the only incline on the course and it just so happens to be positioned in mile 26. It's a very gradual hill but will feel quite painful

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago

7 convenient locations scattered around The Windy City.

"Our industry is called run specialty, but to us, it is Customer Specialty."

Dark Matter Coffee

3 locations

The Manifesto:

In a world driven by technology and science, we are the gravitational resistance rooted in skill and philosophy. An innovative culinary family fueled by community and passion to deliver the most intellectually honest coffee you will experience.

Dark Matter Coffee™ adheres to a philosophy where quality coffees are sourced based on traceability, innovation and social responsibility. Sustainability and fair business practices are very important to us. While aligning with organizations like Fair Trade Alliance, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ, help to ensure fair practices, we have also created direct partnerships with farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. These partnerships have grown to become family, allowing us to directly source our beans from the plant to the cup. This sourcing transparency yields fair business practices and unparalleled quality control, a difference that can be tasted in every cup.


The first Portillo's hot dog stand, known as "The Dog House", opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park. Owner and founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a 6' x 12' trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needed, he ran 250 feet of garden hose from a nearby building into the trailer. Now this iconic stop is a must-see, since it represents one of Chicago's favorite foods as well as its resourcefulness and work ethic.

Half Acre Beer Company

2 brewery locations on the North Side

They brew classic american micro styles, weighted barrel offerings and wyld beers that "traverse the landscape of mixed fermentation".

"Beer is just one element. Have a killer time."

Must Explore

The art and architecture at these sites make a walk (or run) around the city a feast for the eyes.

<b> THE BEAN </b><b> WILLIS TOWER </b><b> THE LOOP </b><b> CHICAGO THEATER </b>

Photos by: Jason Suarez