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Chicago Area Runners Association... Experience the Rewards of Membership

Join Chicago Area Runners Association - CARA... the country’s 3rd largest running organization and become part of our passionate community. CARA annually serves over 10,000 members and trained runners combined across the Chicago area -- city and suburbs.Training programs take place where you live... eleven sites across Cook, Lake and DuPage counties.


New Individual Membership      New Family Membership



Individual Membership     Family Membership

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.

How CARA Membership Helps:

  • Kick Start Your Running: Get rewarded with a CARA Training Program discount to prepare you for a 5K, half marathon or marathon. You’ve checked a marathon off your list and now you want a Boston qualifier – we can work with you to make that goal a reality. Get social -- our "Six Series" social runs fueled by Lagunitas Brewing Company take place every spring, summer, fall and winter. Learn more. 
  • Race Locally: Support local races and receive entry discounts for over 70 local events. You also have the opportunity to qualify for a guaranteed entry in the Chicago Marathon, through the CARA Marathon Incentive Program. Race locally and get rewarded.
  • Get Involved: 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.
  • Return on Investment: Receive discounted entry fees for many local races; get a one-year subscription to Runners World magazine; CARA Community Retail Partners offer special member discounts; exclusive member access to a 24-hour Injury Hotline to NovaCare physical therapists.

Membership Benefits:

  • Family Memberships discounts. Learn more
  • New: 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 volunteerism...Training Group Leader, Roads Scholars mentor, support local races, partner events and community clean up activities.
  • Discounts on CARA’s expert Training Programs led by our by experienced and knowledgeable Site Coordinators and Group Leaders.
  • Discounted entry fees for many local races - get a quick return on your investment!
  • 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.
  • Free admission to the CARA Super Clinic, a half-day must attend seminar for beginner and veteran marathon runners alike.
  • CARA e-newsletters keep you informed. CARA Connection member newsletter, monthly CARA Race News, and CARA Volunteer newsletter.
  • One-year subscription to Runners World magazine ($20 value). One per member-household.
  • Discounts with CARA Partners updated monthly. Learn more.

First Marathon

"I just finished my first marathon (the Cincinnati Flying Pig) and completed it faster than I ever though possible. Thank you so much for helping me prepare for this!"
-Kaitlin Meyer



  • Early Summer Half Marathon Training

This 12-week program is designed to get you tuned up and ready for a Half Marathon, like the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half.

  • Summer Marathon Training

This 18-week program is designed to help runners get ready for their Fall Marathon, including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

  • CARA Road Scholars

Help underserved high schoolers complete their first half marathon.