In the world of Zensah, nothing is quite so iconic as Marathons season... or as exciting! And we know so many have been training, planning, and dreaming of this moment. To celebrate the inaugural race of the big marathons this fall - The Chicago Marathon, we decided to make a city guide for the Windy City! Here you'll find some advice, recommendations, and must-see/dos from runners we love! It's all about Chicago and it's all by runners, for runners! Running or knowing someone who's running or going to Chicago? This city guide blog is for you!!
Can you describe the Chicago Marathon and how the course feels for you?
"The best part of the race is definitely the crowd! millions of people on the street cheering with enthusiasm! The moment that marked me was when I passed in front of a nursing home and all the residents were waving posters out of the window. The city is too beautiful with incredible energy." -Longtime Runner and Marathoner, Julia Sette
"The first part of the race starts downtown, so you'll see a lot of the skyscrapers up close. When you're heading north around miles 7-8, you can see the lake on your right." -12x Marathoner, 50x Half Marathoner, Tammy Whyte
"The first 5 miles seemed to be less crowded along the streets than the rest, you get to see the runners with high-energy and have a great view! I would highly recommend [bystanders to stand] anywhere, as long as it’s not the last few miles of the race, those streets were packed!Charity racers, your charity might provide finish line bracelets for friends and family to be there right at the end!" -Chicago Marathon Veteran and Zensah Ambassador, Ciara Carter
Where are the best places to run in Chicago?
"The different neighborhoods is what makes Chicago so fun, not necessarily the views. Boystown, Pilsen, and Chinatown are a few of my favorite parts of the race, and running in Chicago in general." -12x Marathoner, 50x Half Marathoner, Tammy Whyte
"For taking a run to train or just an enjoyable run, #1 running destination in Chicago is the Lakefront path and the #2 running path is the 606 trail (aka Bloomingdale Trail). These are a must for runners of any caliber when wanting a scenic run in Chicago." -Runner and Zensah Marketing Director, Sarah Humphries
"The best running spots in Chicago, I’d say around the Hyde Park area, and going into Jackson Park, where there are some nice trails." -Athlete, Runner, and Zensah Marketing Coordinator Marina Gindler Corsini
What iconic Chicago places do you recommend or will you be visiting while in the city for the Marathon?
"Chicago Skydeck! It’s FREE to runners if you have your medal and you get the fast pass to bypass the line!I would also go on the boat tour around the city! Don’t have to use your legs and its such a cool perspective around the city!" -Athlete, Chicago Marathoner, and Zensah Ambassador, Ciara Carter
"The Bean aka Cloudgate is a must if you've never been to Chicago. It's not too far from the finish line, so it's a great place to get a post-race pic. If you have time, the architecture tour is a must. It's a great activity the day before the marathon so you're not on your feet too much, as well as a great activity the day after. You may want to book a ticket in advance for race weekend - there are a number of companies that do the tours and most leave from the river docs downtown." -12x Marathoner, 50x Half Marathoner, Tammy Whyte
"The one place I want to go is possibly Willis tower! I didn’t get to go when we lived there!" -Marathoner, Mom of 2, Brandy Talamoni
"A tour that I recommend is to climb the Sydeck tower in Chicago, which has a beautiful view of the city. and you can see every place that you have run! The sunset is AMAZING!" -Longtime Runner and Marathoner, Julia Sette
What running stores/ athletic stores are you getting your gear from in Chicago?
"Every time I’m in Chicago I head out to Dick Pond Athletics in Park Ridge. They have an amazing selection of products, high-quality running gear, super helpful service, and so much Zensah! It’s definitely worth a trip so I go every time I’m in the area." -Runner and Zensah Marketing Director, Sarah Humphries
"I go to Runners Tri & High for running gear, accessories and shoes. It’s a little outside Chicago in Arlington Heights, but it’s definitely worth a trip and they’re so helpful! Plus, they also carry Zensah!" -Athlete, Runner, and Zensah Marketing CoordinatorMarina Gindler Corsini
"Fleet Feet is where I do all my gear shopping - there are multiple locations in Chicago, and they always host medal engraving on that Monday, as well." -12x Marathoner, 50x Half Marathoner, Tammy Whyte
"I’m actually pre-planning and getting my gear from Zensah.com!!! I’m wearing the Zensah Gazelle Sports Bra & Zensah Smart Running Gloves & Zensah Compression Sleeves!"-Athlete, Chicago Marathoner, and Zensah Ambassador, Ciara Carter
What are the best places to get a healthy meal or best place to eat/treat yourself after the race?
"The city is full of wonderful healthy restaurants and for the post race too. A tip is to make your reservation in advance because you run the risk of not finding a table. For those who enjoy pasta, I recommend Carmines. After the 42km my suggestion is to try the deep dish pizza in Chicago, which is delicious! There are some delicious and famous burgers there too." -Longtime Runner and Zensah Ambassador, Julia Sette
"Chicago has a lot of great food! In terms of eating after, I'm a big fan of donuts - Doughnut Vault [downtown] and Beacon Doughnuts [Lincoln Park] are a few of my favorites. Also gotta get some deep dish pizza while you're here, if you've never had it before! Lou Malnati's and Pequod's are two to try." -12x Marathoner, 50x Half Marathoner, Tammy Whyte
"Is Chicago deep dish the wrong answer? Just kidding! Save that for after the race, I went to Dolce Italian the night before the race, they even had a little pre-game party going on for the runners! Highly recommend it!" -Athlete, Chicago Marathoner, and Zensah Ambassador, Ciara Carter
"For a treat, definitely hit up one my favorite donut places, Stans donuts!" -Marathoner, Mom of 2, Brandy Talamoni
"The best post-run brunch is Ann Sather’s, I love brunch and ,of course, I am always looking for the best brunch place in any city I’m visiting. This place is known for their amazing cinnamon rolls. Also if you’re running the 606 path, a coffee shop called Ipsento is a must for a morning latte or brew." -Runner and Zensah Marketing Director, Sarah Humphries
"I am a lover of Mediterranean food, and this place, EMA, at River North is the best! However, if you’re looking for a burger, then I’d go with Au Cheval. You can’t make a reservation, and the place gets pretty full. So, be ready to wait a few minutes, but I swear it’s worth it. They have a special mayo that probably comes from heaven!" -Athlete, Runner, and Zensah Marketing Coordinator Marina Gindler Corsini