Membership - Chicago Area Runners Association

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

Learn More About Joining or Renewing CARA Membership

As a member of Chicago Area Runners Association - CARA, you are part of an organization that has served the Chicago area running community since 1978! Starting as the local running club, CARA has grown into the organization that championed the running movement across Chicagoland. Your CARA membership support our efforts in the local running community. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, we operate with a small staff and rely upon memberships, contributions and volunteer support as we serve the local running community in a variety of ways. Here’s how being a CARA member helps:


From our humble, but outspoken, beginnings fighting on behalf of local runners for better racing conditions, CARA’s focus was and continues to be on safeguarding the sport we love and developing an inclusive, open community of runners in which talent can flourish and opportunities can be enjoyed by all. From our ongoing work with park district, city and suburban forest preserve officials to establish and maintain safe, functional running trails, to CARA’s ‘Go Run program – a free, neighborhood based series designed to activate local parks and build organic running communities – CARA’ s motivation is always to support, expand, defend, and champion running throughout Chicagoland. CARA provides over 650 dates of programs and event opportunities per year for the running community young runners to those over 80.

Training and Charities
CARA’s member 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, Darien, Libertyville, Montrose Harbor, Niles, Oak Forest, Palos, Schaumburg and Wheaton. If you want to make your miles more meaningful, CARA partners with more than 50 local charities, providing subsidized training and recruitment opportunities to help other area nonprofits raise funds for a range of incredibly worthwhile causes. Through our partnerships with charities around fundraising activities for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, in 2016 CARA’s summer marathon training program supported in excess of 1,000 fundraising marathoners!

The CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit Races provides a local racing structure that not only provides a competive outlet for local runners and running clubs, but also an opportunity for commaradery within the running community. Our Race Certification program and Race Director Clinics work to raise the standards of local races, insuring that runners may participate in quality, safe and operationally sound events.  

We have made major investments in digital technology, designing and delivering the website for an improved experience, enhanced member features, and mobile registration capabilities. 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.

As the best and most active source for running information, CARA shares expertise, enthusiasm and passion for excellence. CARA brings together the interests and enjoyment of an active and diverse running community across Chicagoland.

Safe Running

"I don’t even know where to begin to tell you about how wonderful and positive an experience this was! I’m so proud to say I finished the marathon, and without injury! I feel that because of my CARA training I was able to run the race safely."
-Carolyn Nugent


Join Today!

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

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