Robert Wiegand

39-year-old Robert Wiegand discusses why being on the Race Committee means so much to him as well as competing against other runners on the course and maybe also in the bar.

How did you first get involved with CARA and become a member of the Race Committee?

I originally joined CARA while I was on the Fleet Feet Racing team around 2006. I would’ve been training for my 3rd Chicago Marathon that year. As I became more competitive with running and racing, I became more interested in the CARA Circuit Races. I joined the Race Committee in 2014 after a long-time teammate, Matt Monroe stepped down. I represent Chicago's Track and Trough Athletic Union on the committee.

What is your experience with running?

In my post college years, I started to run more as a way to stay fit and de-stress from my work life. While still a recreational runner, I ran my first marathon in 2004, in a painful 3:39. I’ve now run 22 marathons. I have 10 races sub 2:40, a recent PR at 2:35, and all but my first couple marathons are Boston qualifiers. I race everything from 5K up to the marathon.

What is your favorite race on the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit Race calendar or CARA certified race?

Chicago has so many great races, and the Circuit is full of “runner’s races”, but it’s really difficult to not say the Chicago Marathon. The event is truly a world class race, and how could 40,000 participants and over 1 million spectators be wrong!? Nothing beats running through our neighborhoods and having that many people cheering the whole way! For that one single day every year, whether racing or just spectating, it’s like Christmas morning for Chicago runners.

What else do you enjoy about CARA?

As I’ve become more involved with CARA and competitive side of the Circuit, I really enjoy CARA’s social events. We don’t always get the opportunity to mingle with the people that we’re racing against. Events such as the Awards Banquet or outings at Lagunitas allow for us to spend casual time with one another, while wearing real clothing, and see who can drink the most alcohol (kidding!!!). But really, meeting one another away from races gives us the chance to have normal conversations with people from all sorts of competitive levels and different backgrounds. And once you get to know them, it makes going to the circuit races that much more enjoyable.

Why are you proud to be a CARA member as well as a member of the Race Committee?

The very clear answer is that being a CARA member and on the Race Committee is a great way to give back to Chicago’s running community. Membership is not very expensive, but when you see the collective benefits from all of its members, it means so much more. People learn to run with CARA, they train for their marathons with CARA, they forge countless relationships thanks to CARA, and they gain motivation for competition because of the CARA Circuit. As a non-profit advocacy group, CARA is always looking to selflessly promote and improve the sport that has become such an important part in many of our lives. When it comes to racing, the CARA Circuit has become the golden standard for races in the Chicago area. Being a part of the Race Committee is a way to make sure that races actually uphold that standard. We try to pull together Chicagoland’s favorite running events, and it helps to set the stage for one of the best racing series in the country.