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Friday, September 18

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Running Fri Oct 03 2008

Just Do It, Chicago Style

Being a lifelong Chicagoan, I have to admit that I have a touch of that thing called civic pride. Even in the face of a do-nothing, bloated, cash-devouring City Council; a public transportation service that occasionally likes to take little siestas during rush hour and a sports scene that more often than not leaves your throwing items in frustration (present baseball teams excluded, of course).

It's not boastful civic pride. I don't travel to other cities and tell them how much better our city is, how tall our buildings are or how clean our streets are (well, only when in NYC) or how our pizza is better. But if they ask, sure I'll explain to them what makes Chicago so freaking cool, from its great lakefront to its kickass summer music festivals. I just don't mention

I even like the Chicago Marathon. Yeah, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, trying to navigate the city streets on those October Sundays, getting blocked by stampede of whippet-thin runners with two-percent body fat and parka-wearing supporters and slapping your forehead as you suddenly remember, "Damn, the race is today!"

But it's a Chicago thing now, a part of city experience that stretches from one end of town to the other. It would be a great way for anybody to see the variety of city neighborhoods if it wasn't for, you know, the aching knees, the cramping, and the occasional vomiting. For better or worse, it's ours.

Nike, the monolithic athletic equipment manufacturer, apparently knows this and has created a line of Chicago Marathon-related apparel that goes right for a Chicagophile's heart. Shoes in the colors of the Chicago flag (complete with a graphic of the city skyline inside, shirts that pay tribute to a few of the classic neighborhoods that play host to the winding marathon course, caps that announce your civic pride to the world. Items for those who actually finish the race and for those who (ahem) only watch. There's even a shirt that pays tribute to both the marathon and Chicago deep dish pizza, which would seem to be some sort of oxymoron.

It's all to showcase Nike's inaugural involvement in the Chicago Marathon (slated for October 12) as one of the official sponsors. It's the first time they've created such a promotion for a marathon and arguably it's fitting that they start with Chicago. After all, it could be said that a Chicagoan helped establish their presence around the world, and vice versa. Ever hear of a guy named Michael Jordan?

The line of shoes and clothing are currently on sale at Niketown on Michigan Ave. but products aren't their only contribution to the local running scene. In addition hosting weekly free group runs on Thursdays after work, they'll host a marathon pep rally on October , 6:30 p.m., with slated appearance by Shalane Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000m, Alan Webb, the American record holder in the mile, and the legendary Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Even if you're not participating in the marathon (which would be roughly two million of us), it might be work checking out the Chicago-inspired line. The race may be over in a couple of hours but the city goes on.


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nitalife / October 6, 2008 10:57 AM

....just do it...I know you can...

Greg Stallkamp / October 7, 2008 3:14 PM

If your training for the marathon you may find this website useful:

quando / October 7, 2008 5:09 PM

also.....step away from the beer...

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