Weather Updates

Sean Astin of ‘Rudy,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ fame ready for Chicago Marathon

Elijah Wood (left) as Frodo Sean Astas Sam with computer-generated character Gollum voiced by Andy Serkis 'The Lord The Rings:

Elijah Wood (left) as Frodo and Sean Astin as Sam with the computer-generated character, Gollum, voiced by Andy Serkis, in "The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King." | AP Photo /New Line Productions

storyidforme: 56277238
tmspicid: 15230532
fileheaderid: 6913599

Updated: November 13, 2013 6:07AM

People tend to recognize actor Sean Astin (think “Goonies,” “Rudy” or “Lord of the Rings”) in starting corals before marathons.

“I’ll lean in and take a few quick pictures, but for the most part, everybody’s aware of the fact that they’re just about to go to the bathroom or just went to the bathroom, or how many seconds it is till the start and they’re checking their watch, we all have what we’re doing in common, and that makes it fun,” said Astin, 42, who is running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday.

Astin laughed as he recalled a time his famous mug nearly failed him outside Soldier Field.

“I was flying in for a book signing and noticed there was a game going on at Soldier Field. It was a pretty tight turnaround — go to the place where the event was and then go back and get on a plane to New Zealand, because we were still shooting “Lord of the Rings,” recalled Astin.

“But I was like ‘Nope, we’re going to go watch at least one set of downs at Soldier Field.’ They were like, ‘No, we can’t do it’ and I was like ‘We’re doing it, it’s happening...I’m Rudy, it’ll work.”

“I don’t have a ticket,” Astin told Soldier Field security. “But I’ve been flying all over the world I’m only here for a couple of hours, you’ve got to let me in to just look at the new stadium.”

Security had no idea who he was and didn’t budge, until a bystander shouted, “Hey! That’s Rudy.” Then another guy recognized him. Others nearby joined in the chorus.

He got in just in time to see the Redskins score a touchdown.

Astin, who lives in Los Angeles, comes to Chicago regularly. His wife is from Northwest Indiana.

He hopes to complete the marathon in 4:35. His best in 4:04.

He said the carnage in Boston won’t be far from his mind this Sunday, but the terrorist act only gave him fuel to run.

“I was so angry. I skipped over shock. I skipped over sad, and I went right to angry, like fury. Running is sacred and pure and golden and perfect and beautiful and right, so for anyone to find a way to hack at that . . . they actually made a mistake, just like all these nimrods do, they attack somebody, and they realize a thousand times more good energy comes out of it.”

When asked about what music he listens to while running, one of Astin’s young daughters (he has three) chimed in from the background: “Taylor Swift and Beyonce.”

Astin disputed this.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.