Membership - Chicago Area Runners Association

Become part of the area’s premier running organization today, and let’s run Chicagoland together!

As a member of Chicago Area Runners Association - CARA, you are part of an organization that has served the Chicago area running community since 1979! Starting as the local running club, CARA has grown into the organization that championed the running movement across Chicagoland.

Renew your CARA Membership or join today and help support our local running community.

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As a non-profit organization, we operate with a small staff and rely upon membership contributions and volunteers to support the local running community. Here’s how being a CARA member helps:

The CARA Road Scholars youth program builds confidence and self-esteem, for students from underserved Chicago area high schools, through a mentorship-based running program. Our ‘Roads Scholars’ do not pay to participate -- members underwrite all equipment and fees. Training leaders and mentors are all volunteers. Last year over 500 CARA members volunteered for regional trail path clean-up projects, Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Chicago Marathon projects, and race day events.

Training and Charities
CARA’s volunteer led training program can get you ready for your first run, first marathon, or first ‘BQ’ Boston Qualifier. These training programs take place in your neighborhoods… Lakeshore East, Beverly, Darien, Hyde Park, Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Montrose Harbor, Niles, Oak Forest, Schaumburg and Wheaton. If you want to make your miles more meaningful, CARA partners with over 70 local charities. As part of the mission to help our local Charity partners in support of fund raising for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, in 2015 CARA’s volunteer led marathon training program supported over 1,000 fund raising marathoners!

Our Youth Race Series in the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit Races awards girls and boys in 7 age categories.  We are leading the green movement in running by providing Green Race Certification for local races. CARA in effect offers a consistent “standard” to measure best practices on event sustainability, recycling and the elimination of plastic in an effort to reduce an event’s carbon footprint

We have made major investments in digital technology, designing and delivering on a new website for an improved experience, and smartphone accessible. As a free service, the CARA race calendar is open to all races and offers one of the most comprehensive local race calendar listings in the Chicago area, and is our most viewed web page.


  • Annual Individual Membership starts at $50.  Learn more.
  • Family Memberships offer a discount. Learn more.
  • Guaranteed entry in the Chicago Marathon through MIP: Opportunity to qualify for a guaranteed entry in the Chicago Marathon, through the CARA Marathon Incentive Program. Get your entry secured before the lottery opens! Learn more.
  • Get involved through volunteering... Be a Group Leader, Roads Scholars mentor, support local races, partner events and community clean up activities.
  • Discounts on CARA Training Programs (Marathon, Half Marathon, etc.)
  • Discounted entry fees for many local races - get a quick return on your investment! (Login to your member profile to get discount codes)
  • Exclusive CARA members only race day gear check and tents at select races
  • Race and compete for awards on the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit Races. Learn more.
  • One-year subscription to Runners World magazine.
  • Discounts at CARA Community Partners.
  • 24-hour Injury Hotline and access to NovaCare physical therapists.

The rewards and benefits you recieve on products and services, as well as CARA training programs and races, easily covers your annual membership dues.

Login to your membership profile on your mobile device to find your digital membership card to present when visiting the businesses listed below. Inquire at each one for details.

› Learn More

Winter Motivation

Winter Motivation
"While others hibernate, CARA keeps us running strong!"
-Jim Snyder


Join Today!

CARA is the source for all things running in Chicagoland. Join us today and run farther, faster, better, for life!

Individual Membership

Family Membership

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