Living for the city: Marathons give students a chance to explore Chicago


Source: MCTdirect

Runners cross the starting line at the Chicago Marathon. This year’s run will be held on October 13.

Miranda Leon, Columnist

Upon arriving to campus nearly a month ago as a freshman, I naturally had more questions than answers. Who is this Morty the people chant of? Is there actually a fox roaming across campus? What does it say? However naive I was, I was certain of two things: I would not fall victim to the Freshman 15, and I would not become the typical Northwestern student who takes Evanston’s proximity to Chicago for granted.

Now, fully submerged in coursework and having created a daily routine, I fear I will do everything I set out not to do. I have deemed soft serve ice cream its own food group, and I am starting to consider a trip to downtown Evanston an expedition. Alas, there is still a large part of me motivated to accomplish my goals of staying in shape and visiting Chicago regularly. How do I defy the odds and transform my wishes into reality?

Here are some tips to plan your Chicago visit:

  1. Plan your trip to Chicago with a theme. Start small. Maybe visit the classic Chicago attractions (i.e. The Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, Millennium Park) all in one day. 
  2. You are going to spend time eating and socializing anyway, so why not do both while in Chicago?
  3. There are inexpensive options. They may be harder to find, but they are there. For example, one cost-effective route to Chicago from campus is to take the CTA train round trip for $5.

For now, here’s a theme: Chicago marathons. Participating in a marathon, or even a half marathon, will help you promote healthy lifestyles and fight off that Freshman 15. If you’re not participating, support your fellow Chicagoans by cheering them on to the finish line. There are sure to be a few Wildcats in the race. Two marathons to check out this fall:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Why do it: Even though registration for the marathon is closed, there are plenty of ways to have fun on marathon day, such as visiting local shops along the race route. The entire 26.2 miles of the race provides a tour of Chicago’s historic sites and finest eateries. It is a great introduction to the city as it passes through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. Get to know your fellow Chicagoans: There will be 45,000 runners and 1.7 million spectators. You can also help support a good cause. At the marathon, money will be collected by the One Fund for Boston organization, and those who donate $26 will receive blue shoelaces to wear at the marathon. The One Fund for Boston supports victims and their families affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy last April.

When: Sunday, Oct. 13. The first wave starts at 7:30 a.m. The second wave starts at 8:30 a.m.

How to participate: Registration to run the marathon is already closed, but spectating is open to everyone, so make a sign and root for your friends.

Cost: CTA round trip: $5. Spectating is free.

Ram Racing Series: 2013 Hot Chocolate Chicago 15/5K Marathon

Why do it: Do you love chocolate? The Hot Chocolate run has plenty of cocoa sold to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provide outreach to children in need of support both medically and educationally. There is also a 2.5 mile Walk for Little City event beginning at 8:30 a.m. for non-runners who want to participate but are not trained for a marathon. Proceeds from the Walk for Little City are donated to helping families in the Chicago area affected by autism.

When: Sunday, Nov. 3. The first wave starts at 7:00 a.m. The second wave starts at 7:45 a.m.

How to participate: Registration to run in the event is open until Oct. 16.

Cost: CTA train round trip: $5. The 5K costs $49, and the 15K costs $73. Spectating is free.