The Best Running Routes in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Map my Run is great. It’s a site with a handy web application allowing users to create and share running routes. I started using it before regular runs to chart new routes around the neighborhood. Members and maybe even non-members can save courses, but I thought it would be convenient to start savings the routes by order of mileage. When I’m looking for a quick Fiver, I’ll flip through the slideshow.

I thought I’d share it if there are any runners out there. I plan to continue adding routes to the gallery, if only for my own reference… If you’ve got some great routes you like, I’d love to check em out.

The fantastic points about running in Ravenswood, specifically:

River trail:  We’ve got the continuous, almost-unbroken river trail from Lawrence Ave to some indeterminate point up north–I’ve used it to run as far as Howard, but biked as far as Evanston. The river trail may smell a little like sewage, but it’s got some rolling hills around North Park and goes through a bunch of parks with waterfountains. It’s also pretty sparsely travelled, esp compared to the lakefront trail.

Ravenswood Ave: This two-tracked street that parallels the Metra line is great for a runner, provided it’s not under construction, because there are long stretches of shaded sidewalk and few intersections allowing through traffic other than the major ones (Montrose, Lawrence, etc.) Furthermore, it’s got some great historic flavor to it. (check out our illustration for a tiny glimpse. Here’s a good tribune article)

Winnemac, Horner and Welles Parks: All three of these parks are enormous relative to the many others that dot the city, and both have green space in abundance. Welles and Horner are bit more of a baseball venue; Winnemac is much more of an open-space haven, with some wild gardens and enormous willows and rolling hills. It might be Katie’s and my favorite park It’s where I proposed to Katie, so there’s that too. Anyway, all three are large enough to afford runners ample distance to get long straightaways, get some peace from traffic, and find what passes for hills in this flat city.

Lakefront Trail: We’re close to the lake than I realized. I think it was only when I started running a lot that I realized that we’re less than 2 miles from some great beaches, and closer the further north one gets. Take Leland Ave all the way to the lakefront trail, Montrose, or head up to Peterson and thread your way to Thorndale, a small residential street opens up on the glory that is Hollywood (or is it Osterman?) Beach, where the Lakefront Trail is at ground zero. From there you’ve got the entire cityfront at foot: 15 miles to Hyde Park if you want it. The lakefront at anytime of the day except mid-day on North Beach is such a treasure of a run. And in spite of the complainers that say it’s too crowded, I still find it freeing and spacious.

The Diagonals (Lincoln Ave, Broadway, and Clark St): It can be a pain to run on well-trafficked streets, but I find that throwing in a diagonal street into the last part of a course can be a great way to add some final chaos and visual stimulus to an otherwise quiet run down back streets. Running up Lincoln Ave in the final stretch kind of feels like running in a race with bystanders and spectators and I get sometimes get the same adrenaline boost. I try not to spend too much time on these, but they’re great to have in the backpocket.


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