A 2016 Runner’s Guide to Marathon and 5k Races in Chicago

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At any age, and at any pace, a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or even marathon is a great way to see a city and enjoy the outdoors—especially if you live in Chicago. Whether you’re considering your first race or looking to fill up your calendar again at the start of 2016, these are our picks for the best Chicago 5k and marathon races.

Get Lucky Half Marathon and 7kchicago-skyline

This race features more than 1,700 runners hoping for the luck of the Irish on race day. The race also allows walkers for both distances.

When: March 12, 2016

How Far: 7 km (4.3 mi), 13.1 mi

Website: http://www.chicagogetlucky.org/

Live Grit Lakefront 10 Miler and 5k

Sponsored by the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), the race dedicates all proceeds to supporting the organization, including its youth running program that teaches young runners about goal-setting and health.

When: March 19, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi), 10 km (6.2 mi)

Website: http://www.cararuns.org/en/Race/Live-Grit-Lakefront-10-Miler/

Chi-Town Half Marathon and 10k

For finishers, there’s an added benefit at the end of the course—pizza and beer. If that’s not enough to incentivize you, perhaps the flat, fast course will!

When: April 9, 2016

How Far: 10 km (6.2 mi), 13.1 mi

Website: https://allcommunityevents.com/chi_town_half_marathon/chi_town_half_mar_home.html

Chicago’s Perfect 10

An opportunity to enjoy a morning jog from Navy Pier to Soldier Field, the race offers a unique combination of distances and unbeatable views of the Chicago cityscape.

When: April 9, 2016

How Far: 10 km (6.2 mi), 10 mi

Website: http://chicagoevents.com/event.cfm?eid=274

Chicago Cubs Race to Wrigley

chicago-footraceThe Race to Wrigley benefits Cubs Charities and allows participants to set foot on some of baseball’s most hallowed grounds. What better way to put you in the mood for baseball all spring and summer long?

When: April 23, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi)

Website: http://www.race-cubs.com/

Ravenswood Run

Celebrating 20 years of racing, the Ravenswood Run benefits Ravenswood Community Service Food Pantry. It’s kid friendly, with races for those ages 2–10, and offers a post-race pancake breakfast.

When: April 24, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi)

Website: http://www.fleetfeetchicago.com/ppu—ravenswood-run-event-77

Komen Chicagoland Area Race for the Cure

Scheduled on Mother’s Day, the fundraising walk and run seeks to raise at least $400,000 for breast cancer research. The race starts at Grant Park and winds through downtown.

When: May 8, 2016

How Far: 1 mi walk, 5 km (3.1 mi) walk, 5 km run (3.1 mi), 10 km run (6.2 mi)

Website: http://chicagoland.info-komen.org/site/TR?fr_id=6268&pg=entry

Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile

As the saying goes, this race lets you “Finish on the 50.” But you also get to start at the historic home of the Chicago Bears. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a car-free Lake Shore Drive, this is your chance!

When: May 28, 2016

How Far: 10 mi

Website: http://soldierfield10.com/

Gospel Run

The Chicago Gospel Run offers exercise and inspiration. The festivities start at Midway Plaisance Park, in the heart of the University of Chicago. A post-race concert keeps the energy flowing.

When: June 4, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi)

Website: http://gospelrun.com

Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k

With two-days of races, the Chicago iteration of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series features a new half-marathon course for 2016. Live music at every mile means you can leave your headphones at home.

When: July 16–17, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi), 10 km (6.2 mi), 13.1 mi

Website: http://www.runrocknroll.com/chicago/

The Magnificent Mile: Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 5k

While you may have spent hours on the Magnificent Mile, you’ve never spent them running alongside hundreds of other female athletes. A post-race party in Grant Park caps off the event.

When: September 6, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi), 13.1 mi

Website: http://www.magnificentmilehalf.com/

Chicago Half Marathon and 5k

This event is a two-decade staple of downtown Chicago races. Enjoy a constant view of the cityscape as you traverse the course around Hyde Park and along Lake Shore Drive.

When: September 25, 2016

How Far: 5 km (3.1 mi) 13.1 mi

Website: http://www.chicagohalfmarathon.com/

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Fittingly, the last major race of the year is the Chicago Marathon—the city’s premier footrace. The highly competitive race features well-known professional runners and has entry requirements to secure guaranteed access.

When: October 9, 2016

How Far: 26.2 mi

Website: https://www.chicagomarathon.com/

chicago marathonWhile these events represent some of the biggest and most unique running opportunities in downtown Chicago, there are dozens more fun-runs, fundraisers, and quirky themed events, all without leaving the city you love.

So which one best suits your interests? Only one way to find out!