Saturday, February 1, 2014

Retrospective: The Runner's Guide to Chicago & Suburbs

A quick Google search reveals very little about Tem Horwitz's The Runner's Guide to Chicago & Suburbs (ISBN 0-914090-54-2).

Published in 1978 by the Chicago Review Press, the book was clearly intended to be somewhat disposable. A 1978 directory of all things running in Chicago it includes descriptions and maps of favorite runs, sundry information about running in general, equipment recommendations including a list of Runners World's top 25 shoes, addresses and phone numbers of various shops and clubs servicing runners, and tear off copies of the maps of the runs to take on the go. Its eclectic, exceedingly specific contents have not aged particularly well, but for a Chicago runner 36 years later, it provides a peek into the gestalt (did I just use that word?) of Chicago running as well as the psyche of a particular Chicago runner of the past.

I tend to bring this book up in conversations primarily for the power of the photos which some what eerily mimic those flooding my Facebook and Twitter feeds on a daily basis. My friend, Lynton, asked for more information about the book after our run today, but since there was nothing really on the interwebs, I decided to write a bit about the book and share a few of the iconic photos I had described:

For many this spot is instantly recognizable.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

It's too bad this area is nearly impassible at the present.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

I'm pretty sure this is Belmont Harbor.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

I think that it would probably interesting to include some of the locations that Horwitz describes where I've had the opportunity to run:

Chicago Parks
Lincoln Park (Foster to Grand)
Burnham Park (Monroe to 55th)
Grant Park
Jackson Park
Horner and California Parks
Humbolt Park
Washington Park

Skokie Lagoons
Des Plaines River Trail
Evanston Lake Front
North Branch Trail
Schiller Park
Palos/Sag Valley

Despite this experience, there are still quite a few notable places I have yet to run:

Garfield, Marquette, or Riis Parks
Green Bay Trail (I've biked this, but not run)
Morton Arboretum
Oak Park
Illinois Prairie Path

What is your favorite Chicago & suburbs run?


  1. They don't usually have strong competition, but there are several races a year at Riis Park hosted by a local club. Might be a nice opportunity to check it out.

    1. It looks like they hold a cross country race every week from the end of September to Thanksgiving and a road race from Thanksgiving to the end of February:

      We should plan a day and go out there and make it competitive.