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Great places to run in Chicago suburbs

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The Chicago suburbs have no shortage of activities, including great locations for those who love to run outdoors.

Burnidge Forest Preserve- Elgin
Burnidge Forest Preserve- Elgin Amy Ahrens

Burnidge Forest Preserve- Elgin

This small forest preserve is located minutes from Randall Road on the far west side of Elgin.  Offering camping, horse trails, fishing, and multiple picnic locations, one would expect this preserve to be crowded.  However, this spot is ideal for being able to connect quietly with nature and feel the isolation that comes with it, without running the risk of getting lost or cutting too far off from civilization.  Nine miles of trails of varying terrains are found at Burnidge, making it a great training location for the serious or recreational trail runner.

Busse Woods- Elk Grove
Busse Woods- Elk Grove Ashley Lauer

Busse Woods- Elk Grove

Formally known as Ned Brown Preserve in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Busse Woods is a vastly different experience from that of Burnidge.  Busse Woods sees much more traffic, about 2.5 million visitors per year, according to the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  This amount of traffic rivals that of Yellowstone National Park.  So, do not expect your Busse Woods experience to bring an isolated nature connection.  You can, however, expect nearly 11 miles of trail (about eight in a paved loop around the preserve), fishing, boating, numerous picnic areas and shelters, and a model airplane field.  Running at Busse brings a feeling of camaraderie and joy of seeing lots of people out and about, enjoying all the outdoors has to offer.  Additionally, numerous running events are held or run through this location, so it makes an especially useful training location.

Fox River Trail
Fox River Trail Ashley Lauer

Fox River Trail

Heading back to Kane County, the Fox River trail stretches from Algonquin to Aurora.  This trail stretches over nearly 40 paved miles, 18 of which are on the property of seven different Kane County forest preserves.  Those who love to run on the water can pick one of many places to start on the trail, pick your direction and take an out-and-back route along the Fox River.  Like Busse Woods, various races are held at least partially on this trail, so it makes a great training location, as well as a relaxing route for the more recreational runner who seeks a change of scenery.  The traffic on the trail depends on the location.  Those who get nervous in secluded areas may want to bring a friend.

Great Western Trail- St. Charles
Great Western Trail- St. Charles Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau

Great Western Trail- St. Charles

A perfect combination of quiet nature and friendly people makes the Great Western Trail, also a forest preserve of Kane County, an ideal running location.  The trail head is at LeRoy Oaks forest preserve in St. Charles, and the trail stretches across 14 paved and limestone miles to the DeKalb County line.  Home to the Great Western Half, this location provides great scenery, well-constructed bridges, and calm nature despite being fairly close to main roads and trafficked by many runners, walkers, and cyclists.  Runners will not be disappointed with the serenity of this trail.

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