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Chicago Running Review

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Up for an Urban Trail Run?

Images like this one seemingly speak to the runner in each of us calling us from our concrete and asphalt running routes to something much more sublime. Often our minds tell us to run while our aching bodies poignantly and repeatedly tell us to stop, reminding us that we weren’t designed to slap our lower limbs against flat, hard surfaces for tens of minutes at a time.

Unfortunately our most convenient options for a trail run are the small strip of crushed limestone along the Lakefront bike path or involve finding a vehicle, 30 plus minutes of driving, and possible tolls and park entry fees. Despite this grim outlook, let me give you hope for enjoying many surfaces within the Chicago city limits!

This past Sunday, Montrail gave us Fleet Feet Sports staff members a unique opportunity to go try out their shoes on a multi-surface trail run starting right here in Chicago, in the parking lot at Wilson Avenue and Simmonds Drive. Check out our planned route below (Run this route at your own risk! Use caution when attempting any sort of athletic activity.):

Dedicated to making the best running shoes for all surfaces and all conditions, Montrail has been shifting their focus from hiking inspired running footwear to running inspired running footwear. The shoe I tried was the Badwater Hybrid (Men’s | Women’s) featuring a “seamless” upper, it was designed for running on mixed surfaces, a great option for the urban off-roader. Some of the other staff members tried the Bajada (Women’s | Men’s), an aggressive off-road running shoe. The Men’s Bajada:

Once running, we were able to stay on pretty soft surfaces, and even experienced some of those breathtaking vistas we look at longingly in magazines.

We didn’t have 50, 10, or even 5 miles of “trail” at our disposal, but we were able to run a variety of surfaces and inclines in our own backyard. We also received as our reward a beautiful urban vista and a respite from the concrete. All it took was some creativity and a little push to get together for a run!

Are you looking for trails to run in your neighborhood? Do you have any favorite routes, tips, or tricks to keeping it soft in urban areas like Chicago you’d like to share? Post a comment below!

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