Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nike's Chicago Marathon Gear, Where Art Meets Running

One advantage to living in the city of the marathon you're going to participate in: you get to see to gear up close and personal before everyone else rolls into town and starts wandering their way through the expo and Niketown. So when you learn Saturday morning, by no one's fault but your own (the event was posted clear as day), that an event later that afternoon will provide an exclusive unveiling of Nike's 2011 Chicago Marathon gear and LunarGlide+ 3, you drop everything and run. Literally.

And to AKIN's Lincoln Park location I went to see what all this hype was about. Who knew that an afternoon away from the stationary bike, elliptical and pool could be such a good thing? Not only to appease the gear junkie that takes up residence within any time an event rolls around, but also to see a celebration of running removed from its usual confines. Art, running, streetwear? When you're a runner like me and you're standing among an audience who look (and shoot pictures) like they high-tailed it from New York's Fashion Week, it's weird, but even I could appreciate meeting local artist Tara D., who designed the 2011 Chicago shoe and T-shirt featured below and got even cooler when she stopped crafting to talk about how she designed these marathon wares.
Because I didn't expect her to say, "I don't know any runners at all." Wait, what? Since she couldn't reach out to friends to learn about Chicago running, she says that she reached out to the community and started studying at the running stores. And I'm not trying to be presumptuous in saying this--I swear something to this effect was expressed--but she married these two small local communities together, the proof was laying on the table.

Whether you're starting to virtually shop for Chicago Marathon goodies before you arrive into town and attend the expo or you locals want to beat the rush and purchase your marathon wish list now, here are more items to add to the roster. Without further ado, the 2011 collection as seen at AKIN.

Nike LunarGlide+ 3 and Dry Fit Tee designed by Tara D.
The artist designed tee: light blue for girls, royal blue for guys. 
Partial to the tee from the get-go because there aren't enough blue tees in the world for girls, the design became more intriguing to the more I looked at it. It doesn't shout running like a million other tees in my drawers do thus deeming them unwearable for many a day out--but not here.

There's also a version of this women's jacket in black for the guys.

Wearable on the run and bright enough to be spotted by others.

I loved this long-sleeved tee with city sights--Cloud Gate, Marina City, Navy Pier, Water Tower, the Macy's (nee Marshall Fields') clock--printed on the lower front and side, and almost walked out with it. I'll be hunting this one down to fix yesterday's blunder: the opt out.

Women's running jacket with that familiar Chicago star. Warm, soft, a little stretchy and with a key hidden pocket on the back, perfect for stashing keys or fuel.

Modeling the jacket, one gotta-have-em pair of running tights and CHI LunarGlide+ 3.

Still need more gear to gaze at? Check out some of Fleet Feet's Chicago Marathon merchandise and a close-up of that new LunarGlide+ 3.Warning: hide your credit card because it's drool worthy. The blue laces alone sold me on the Chicago edition shoe, so much that it might have to become my basic LunarGlide+ 3 post-marathon replacement. An artist-designed shoe? Now that would be a first--for me.

What gear has you ga-ga for this year's Chicago Marathon?


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