Welcome to a nice and sunny 18 degree day in Chicago. I haven’t been outside yet, but I can tell you it’s cold. This will be the coldest day yet since I’ve gotten here, so that should be fun. This weekend hovered in the 20s, though, and it actually wasn’t too bad. I looked ahead at the forecast and when I saw temperatures in the 40s for this weekend, I was elated. Who would have thought?
One thing that helped me work through my fear of the cold was to take a running tour of the city. I had thought about doing a regular tour once we moved here so that I could get some bearings and knowledge about the city, but in doing more research I realized that I could combine my love of running with my love of learning and I was sold. I reached out to Marlin Keesler, who is the owner of Chicago Running Tours & More, and he offered to let me tag along on one of the many tours that he does around the city. I chose the Tragic Events tour, which goes through 5 of the most tragic events in Chicago’s History.
I met him and two other runners at 7:30 am on Saturday. It was 28 degrees when I left and for someone who has said that 48 is the lowest temperature that I would ever run in, I ended up changing my tune. We met at the bean in Millennium Park and headed out on the 3.8 mile run around the loop. Here is my sleepy pre run shot:
We took off through Laurie Gardens, where the wooden walkway serves as a symbol of the wooden sidewalks that existed prior to the Great Fire.
One of our first stops was where Route 66 begins.
Since this road is one way, the end of Route 66 is found a street over. Here we are after having run the 2248 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica:
I don’t want to give away all of the tour information, so here are a few more shots from our journey:
The detail under these windows was amazing!
Sears Tower–recently renamed the Willis Tower
Chicago Art Institute
Haunted alley outside of where the Iroquois Theater burned down
Apparently Chicago gets too cold for pigeons as well. Unfortunately, the wind has a habit of blowing the fire and they can get singed like the one near the front right:
The tour took about 2 hours and although I was cold by the end of it, it was beyond worth it. Here is a shot of our awesome group before we parted ways:
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. Since there are stops for information, it is not a consistent running pace. This makes it great for runners of all abilities. Everyone in our group was pretty well paced, so I felt like I got a workout in which was great. There are tours everyday and I can’t wait to try out some other routes! I am already planning to take friends on these tours when they come and visit.
Marlin is an amazing tour guide and as well as a fascinating person. Despite his indifference to running (he terms himself “the reluctant runner”), he has run a marathon in all 50 states. He has two children on the autism spectrum and has used the marathons as a way to teach them about goal setting. He chronicles the journey in his book “Our Life on the Run,” which you can find on Amazon here. It is definitely on my list once I finish up this last Game of Thrones book that I have been trudging through.
Here are my favorite things about this tour:
- Fun, relaxed atmosphere
- Lots of information presented in a way that made it enjoyable and easy to remember. In case you forget, you receive a summary email of everything you learned
- Pictures are taken during your tour and uploaded to Flickr for you to download for free afterwards. This means you can leave your camera/phone at home if you want
- Goodie bags at the end!
I hope everyone has a fabulous Monday and stay warm!
Question of the day: Have you ever been on a running tour?
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