You Know You’re a Chicago Runner If

Some things are just so second city that only a Chicago local would appreciate them.  In celebration of the Chicago Marathon next weekend (10/11), we salute our Windy City warriors.  A big thanks to all of Moji’s Facebook and Twitter friends as well as the folks at Chicago Athlete that helped contribute to the list of 25.

You Know You’re a Chicago Runner If…

  1. When you hear “Oak Street Beach” phrases like “mile marker” and “turnaround” come to mind
  2. You’ve had a “recovery dog”
  3. You’re shoes are either sprinkled with sand or snow
  4. You live for the first beautiful spring run until you remember that 80% of the city runs that day (95% of which will be enjoying their first and last run of the year)
  5. Each out-and-back run included two stages:
    Stage 1:
    You question your training, your self-worth, and your sanity (aka running against the wind)
    Stage 2: You contemplate training for an ultra, winning your age group, quitting your day job and going pro (aka running with the wind)
  6. You’ve seen the smiley face guy on the path (Hooray for HiGuy!)
  7. The largest hill you’ll climb all day is actually a speed bump (courtesy of our friends at Chicago Athlete)
  8. You worry about injuries such as frostbite to the face, sand to the eyes, road rash by dog leash entanglement, stray volleyball to the head, and death by six person buggy more than you worry about shin splints and ankle sprains
  9. You know what a six-person buggy is
  10. You’re more likely to complain that it’s too hot to run than too cold
  11. Scratch that; you don’t complain
  12. You’ve Shamrock Shuffled
  13. The roar of the El overhead has at one time or another drowned out your loudest running buddy, your most rockin’ tunes,  and your greatest doubts
  14. You know the every-400 rule for addresses and mileage
  15. When it came to the 2016 Olympic bid, you worried less about the taxes and more about the foot traffic it would have brought to the lake path
  16. CARA is not just a girl’s name
  17. You’ve nearly bowled over at least one imbibed Castaways attendee
  18. On your Sunday runs in the fall, you pass more tailgates and bar parties than churchgoers  (Go Bears)
  19. On your Sunday runs in the spring and summer, you pass more games of corn hole than churchgoers (Go Sox/Cubbies)
  20. You’re run has been interrupted by a filming of ER/Oprah/Batman Returns/The Dark Knight or if you’re real old school Perfect Strangers
  21. You’ve heard the roar of Wrigley/Soldier Field/US Cellular and ran to check out a flat screen (which, given that there is a bar/restaurant with a TV every 10 feet in Chicago, probably wasn’t too inconvenient)
  22. In January, you suit up in 4 layers of pants and shirts,  gloves, a hat, and Smartwool socks to go outside on your morning run because treadmills just won’t cut it
  23. Due to the aforementioned ritual, for most of the year it takes you as long to get dressed and undressed as it does to actually run the route
  24. You time stoplights as deftly as a double dutch jump roper times their footwork
  25. On any given day, you can experience the awe-inspiring nature of Chicago’s architecture, the friendliness of Chicago’s people, and the grandeur of a Chicago sunrise over Lake Michigan

Are you a Chicago runner? Add your own Chicago-based truths in the comments below.


  1. Michelle N. 8 years ago

    1/3 of all your underwear is long

  2. Shannon 8 years ago

    When you do races in other cities, you are amazed at the mountains that other runners call hills.

  3. Stephanie 8 years ago

    You have more than one color of winter gloves…scratch that; you have more than one pair of running gloves, period.

  4. Megan 8 years ago

    You laugh at jackets that claim to be windbreakers

  5. David 8 years ago

    You know how long it takes for the ‘heater’ to get going on a December run.

  6. HITCH 8 years ago

    Smiley guy (apparently known as HiGuy) has his own website! Added it to #6. Thanks, Chanthana!

  7. Aarflack 7 years ago

    You drive 20 minutes to “get away from the city” to run in the forest preserves and the suburbanites drive the same distance to run “in the city” along the lakefront.

  8. Bobbe 7 years ago

    You've started your run freezing and ended sweltering.

  9. Jodi Lamela 7 years ago

    You've been both clobbered by a wave and suffered through the sun and heat on 'the curve'.

  10. Dave 7 years ago

    When your goggles don't fog over…they freeze!

  11. Mary 7 years ago

    You've been [nearly] plowed over by a herd of segways on more than one occasion.

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