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Run because you can!


What is CARA?

The Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding, motivating, supporting and celebrating the running community of Chicagoland. CARA connects runners to resources that enable them to run—farther, faster, better, for life.

How does CARA help runners?

CARA helps runners in a variety of ways—through training programs, by connecting them with other runners, through educational seminars, through advocating for better conditions for runners in our parks.

How much are CARA memberships?

  • One-year individual membership: $44 (Renewal is $35 within 30 days of expiration date)
  • One-year senior membership: $25
  • One-year youth membership (22 years and younger) : $15
  • One-year family membership: $65
  • Two-year individual membership: $75 (Renewal is $60 within 30 days of expiration date)
  • Two-year family membership: $100

There are higher levels of membership as well, all of which are two years:

  • $100 Bronze (includes a $35 tax deduction and a CARA premium) 
  • $150 Silver (includes $85 tax deduction* and a CARA premium)
  • $250 Gold (includes $185 tax deduction* and a CARA premium)

What do I get for my CARA membership?

By becoming a member of CARA, you will receive:

    • Discounted race entry fees at hundreds of races throughout the Chicagoland area
    • One year (12 issue) subscription to Runner's World magazine ($20 value) included with memberships above $30  Offer and Refund details
    • Weekly e-newsletter with the latest information on happenings in the running community
    • Special invitations and discounts to members-only events or CARA sponsored promotions
    • Discounts from local running stores on the gear you need to get up and go
    • Access to exclusive members-only race day tents and gear checks at selected races throughout the running season
    • CARA Race Circuit
    • Awards just for running races, regardless of your level of ability.
    • Durable membership card/key tag that can be used at retailers, race expos, and race day for special CARA member promotions
    • Discounts on CARA's premier training programs which serve all levels of runners, in most locations, and at all paces
    • Access to a huge community of healthy, fitness oriented, fun people!

I’d like to start running but I’m not sure how—what would you recommend?

If you head to our training page, you’ll find information on our Beginning Running program which is a program for first-time runners. You’ll find other first-timers just like you, along with great seminars on stretching, nutrition and gear and work your way up to a 30 minute run over eight weeks. Beginning Running is a great place to start because you’ll get all the encouragement and support you need not only to start running but to doing it right so that you’ll enjoy it and do it for life.

      CARA website photos courtesy of Chad Marek,, copyright 2007.