I don’t care what the thermometer outside says, it’s March and that means it’s officially springtime. It’s been a long (LONG) winter of being cooped up indoors, but with the calendar page change comes the chance to get outside and stretch your legs. To that end, I’d like to present my own carefully curated, hand-selected Chicago Spring Race Roundup, the Second City races that I think have the best swag, the best courses, or the best causes. Got any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments! See y’all at the finish lines.
Charles “Peanut” Tillman 5K Run/Walk, March 8th
For the non-sports fans out there, Charles Tillman, aka Peanut, plays cornerback for the Chicago Bears. While he’s excelled on the field, he’s also been recognized for his charitable contributions off the field and was named the NFL Man of the Year for 2013. This particular event benefits his foundation, which provides “opportunities and resources to children or their families who are in need.” As if a good cause wasn’t good enough reason to run, the top male and female finishers will win an all-expenses paid trip to Denver to run in the Wings for Life World Run on May 4th. Sign up and learn more about the race here.
Wacky 5K and 10K, March 9th
This event bills itself as Chicago’s Most Bizarre Race, and you’ll be inclined to agree once you glance over your shoulder and see Wonder Woman gaining on you at the last stretch. With a superheroes and villains theme, this race looks to be a nice change of pace from the Lululemon-clad joggers you typically see on a Sunday morning in Lincoln Park. Sign up and learn more here.
Shamrock Shuffle 8K, March 30th
One of Chicago’s most famous running events, the Shamrock Shuffle attracts over 30,000 runners and gives everyone a reason to do a little mental math in the process (how far is an 8K, anyway?). The course mimics the Chicago marathon course, and from what I’ve heard, the post-race party is just another excuse to extend the St. Paddy’s day celebrations that Chicagoans love so dearly. Sign up and learn more here.
Race to Wrigley 5K, April 12th
If there’s one thing I know about Chicago, it’s that they love their sports teams. The Race to Wrigley puts this passion to use with a 5K around Lakeview culminating in Wrigley Field’s ground level concourse. With Cubs-themed fundraising incentives, this race is the perfect way to kick off another
winning drinking season at Wrigley. Sign up and learn more here.
Bunny Rock Half Marathon and 5K, April 19th
I like this race just for the sheer absurdity of the logo. Any race with goofy swag is okay by me, and the Bunny Rock race series offers participants sunglasses (which I always need and am forever losing) and aerodynamic (joke) bunny ears. The event also gives participants the option of signing up for an egg hunt with their kids after the races start. Oh, and did I mention there’s a petting zoo at the end? Because of course. Sign up and learn more here.
Glo Run Chicago 5K, May 3rd
Do you like to rave AND run? Do you get irritated that you can’t often do both simultaneously? If so, the Glo Run series is for you! The race takes place at night, and the course is lit with neon arches to bring out your inner EDM lover. This laid-back event is untimed, and runners get three pieces of “glow wear” to help them light up the course. Sign up and learn more here.
Soldier Field 10 Mile, May 24th
Okay, I’m sensing a theme here. Something about Chicago, sports teams, and running. I can’t quite put my finger on it. The Soldier Field 10 Mile race pairs a fun course with a memorable finish at the 50-yard line of Soldier Field. I ran it last year, and despite not being a huge Bears fan, I couldn’t shake the undeniable feeling of “Wow, this is pretty cool” as a I sprinted across the finish line. Plus, the course is just long enough that you feel pretty damn accomplished after finishing, but short enough that you don’t have to devote lots of serious training time. Save $10 by registering before April 1st, and sign up here.
What races are you running this spring? Did I miss any good ones?