Running Trails in Illinois

An alumnus of Stanford University’s MBA program, Timothy Shields serves as a program and portfolio manager at UBS in Chicago, Illinois. Tim Shields leverages his Stanford education and past leadership positions to oversee long-term technology projects and manage operating frameworks for information technology programs. Away from work, Timothy Shields is an avid runner, who stays actively involved with the Chicago Frontrunners, an organization he joined in 2003.

Illinois offers paved, dirt, and gravel running trails spanning various distances. The following trails cater to runners:

1. Paved with asphalt, Deer Grove Trail in Cook County takes runners through the Deer Grove Forest Preserve on a nearly 4-mile run. The path links to the Palatine Trail system and has moderate inclines. The preserve is home to wildlife, like turtles and salamanders, and a bevy of wildflowers.

2. Made up of concrete, asphalt, and dirt, North Shore Channel Trail covers just over 6.5 miles. Most of the path follows the canal, and runners can jog along both sides of the aqueduct. Runners who prefer training entirely on asphalt should utilize the east side of the trail from Green Bay to Emerson, then move over to the west side from Emerson/Golf to Lincoln and return to the east side from Lincoln to Lawrence. This also reduces street crossings.

3. Long-distance runners should consider Prairie Trail, which begins at the Wisconsin and Illinois border and ends in Algonquin. Only experienced runners should attempt this path, due to its length—it stretches 28 miles across McHenry County. Runners must prepare for long stretches without water sources and for several types of pavements, including crushed stone. This route provides scenic views of bridges, a rail corridor, and a lake.

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