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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

#4 Chicago

Population: 2.7 million

Chicago

Diverse architecture abutting lakefront paths, flat and fast terrain and a well-established running culture make for a lively running scene. In case the Windy City moniker has you worried—while Chicago does get breezy, some say the nickname actually originated way back in the 1800s in reference to the city’s politicians being full of hot air.

Must Run
Hit the iconic 18.5-mile path along the shores of Lake Michigan for a point-to-point, out-and-back or incorporate it into a long loop of the city for the ultimate urban experience—as an added bonus, the easy-to-access path has mileage markers and bathrooms. Chicago also has 700 public works of art, and The Bean in Millennium Park is easily accessible from the lakefront route.

Get Away From It All
Head north to Cricket Hill in the Uptown neighborhood for soft, grassy hill repeats (the gain is about 45 vertical feet) and expansive views of the lake from the summit. Chicago Parks and Recreation recently added an eight-lane track near the base of the hill, making it “easy” to combine sprints and hill work!

Destination Racing
Tour every facet of the city at the Chicago Marathon, a runner favorite not only for its energy (Chicagoans are enthusiastic spectators!), but also for its logistical ease. The annual Lakefront 10-Miler and 5K is a popular way to welcome the spring and shake out winter legs. —AP

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“You can tell you’re in a city that embraces runners. There’s always something to catch your interest and help the miles fly by—not to mention all that amazing food to refuel on!” —Danielle Cemprola, WR columnist and founder of T-Rex Runner

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