Galen Rupp is recovering from an Achilles injury

Galen Rupp loves to run along the lakefront when he visits Chicago. He occasionally gets noticed as the city’s former marathon champion rather than just an exceptionally fast runner among those who pack the path on sunny days.

“It’s still a weird thing for people to know who you are,” Rupp told the Tribune on Thursday. “I love running along the lake. It’s literally one of the most gorgeous runs I could go on. The architecture of the city is so cool. The people are great here. Obviously I love running here.”

As he works to overcome a foot injury, Rupp logged some miles in the city this week to prepare for the Oct. 13 Chicago Marathon. He’ll have missed nearly a year of competitive marathoning when he returns to the course where he won in 2017.

“It was an easy decision for me to come back here,” Rupp said.

Rupp finished fifth in Chicago last year in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 21 seconds. His coach, Alberto Salazar, revealed two weeks later that Rupp had surgery after the race to fix a condition called Haglund’s deformity, a bone protrusion in his left heel that had worn on his Achilles tendon and partially tore it.

His doctor emphasized how serious the injury could be if Rupp didn’t follow his orders to ease off running. Taking it easy wasn’t easy for Rupp.

“(My doctor) said the only thing I could do wrong is be too aggressive,” he said. “It takes six months to heal. He knows (athletes are) going to try to push it. But he did a good job of scaring me enough. If it went bad, it could have been a career-ender for me. As simple as that.”

Rupp said he’s pleased with his recovery. He’s running about 85 miles per week.

While he recovered, he cross-trained about three hours a week with biking and pool workouts, including running on a water treadmill. He said the break from running was probably good for him from a mental standpoint.

Rupp will face a strong field in Chicago this fall, like britain’s Mo Farah, the defending champion and a four-time Olympic gold medalist, will also return. He and Rupp were teammates under Salazar with the Oregon Project from 2011 to ’17.

posted Monday June 10th