When we started out in 1978, our focus was to serve as the voice of the runner and improve the running experience in Chicagoland. Among our successes: increasing the number of local races, developing a certification for best practices in road racing, getting more women involved in the sport, and officially designating a running path along the lakefront. We also developed an amazing army of volunteers and provided the wildly popular water trough near Fullerton, the only source of running water on the lakefront path during the winter.
Now, more than three decades later, CARA’s scope has grown to support the larger community.
- We offer 'Go Runs free-timed 5K and 1 mile runs in local parks, primarily in underserved communities, in order to open the sport to new runners, build communities and activate local parks.
- We have worked with more than 100 nonprofits, underwriting a significant portion of the costs to train charity runners to race and raise funds for very worthy causes.
- We provide education, training and competition for young runners through the Chicago Flyers Youth Team.
- We certify nearly 100 races a year through our Best Practices Guidelines, and offer free Race Director Clinics, ensuring that runner safety and experience are the top priority.
- We help maintain the Chicago lakefront path and represent runners in local issues.
- We participate in numerous tasks forces and studies to provide ongoing feedback on city and suburban trail and path issues, construction and upgrades—to guarantee the voice of the runner will be heard.