Event Details


The Ready to Run 20 Miler features a point-to-point course, starting on the north end of the Lakefront Path and finishing on the south end. The event will begin from the path adjacent to the Wilson Lakefront Parking Lot (Wilson Dr. and Lake Shore Dr.) and finish in Jackson Park (near the corner of Lakeshore Dr and Hayes Dr.).

Check out the course map here (PDF).

The course will be supported no later than 12 p.m. (noon). This closing time represents a 16:30 minute/mile pace from the first wave start. The maximum pace to meet the cutoff for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a 14:53 minute/mile.


Aid Stations

An additional aid station has been added for 2017! There will be nine on-course aid stations, located approximately every two-miles. Each on-course aid station will offer both water and Gatorade. The aid station near mile 12 will also serve energy gels. Each aid station will also have access to restrooms or portable toilet units nearbny. All aid stations, except the first, will have full medical support on-site.


Wave Start / Pace Groups
To ensure your safety, the Ready to Run 20 Miler uses a wave start. Waves will be assigned after registration based on participants selected pace group. Each wave will be led by pacers who will keep pace within 10-seconds per mile of their assigned pace. Pace groups are available for run paces 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 and 12:00. Run/Walk groups will be offered for 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 and 12:00 (Run/Walk groups average the stated pace). A wave for those planning to run slower than 12:00 will be available but a pacer is not guarranteed. Those planning to run faster than 7:00 will be placed in a wave together, but no pacer will present. Participants will receive their wave assignment / pace group at packet pickup. Please run in your assigned wave.

Pace group leaders will be carrying signs with each wave number and pace at the start. Pacers will also have special back bibs indicating thier pace. Please find your appropriate wave in the staging area to get Ready to Run!

Remember, this is not a race, but this is a race simulation to help prepare participants for their race day effort. Pace Groups leaders are there to help you maintain a steady pace for the length of the run. Pace groups will run through most aid stations "race style" as quickly as possible to help prepare participants for their marathon race day. Pace groups will not stop and wait for runners who need to use toilets during the run.

When choosing your pace group during registration, we reccomend choosing a pace that is equal to your normal long run pace, not necessarily your marathon race pace. 


Gear Check

Gear check will be available at the starting line. Participants may drop their gear at Gear Check. Gear will then be transported to the finish line for pickup. Runners will need their race bib as identification to retrieve their checked gear.

Please use a bag that is of standard backpack or duffle bag size. Please attach your gear check tag (from your race bib) prior to checking your bag. With the volume of gear checked for an event like this and our finish line setup, we are unable to provide covered gear check. Please plan accordingly in case of inclement weather. If wet weather is forecast, we recommend using a waterproof bag for your gear check.


Post-Run Party

Celebrate your accomplishments and slide into the taper at our post-run party! Runners can pick up their one-of-a-kind finisher's shirt, enjoy some Lagunitas Beer (21 and older) and get post-run stretching with NovaCare Rehabilitation.


Parking and Transportation

Runners should plan to park near the starting line.

Free parking is available along Simmonds Drive, between Wilson and Foster. Paid parking will be available in the Wilson and Foster lots. This is metered parking, however you are not limited to two or three hours. If you plan to park in one of these lots, give yourself extra time. There are limited pay boxes in each lot and it can take a little bit of time for each person to pay. To save time consider using the ParkChicago app (Iphone Andoid) and pay by smartphone.

If you plan to take public transit, be sure to double check the bus/train schedules. For suburban runners, Metra will not be running early enough to get you to the starting line on time. CTA riders have a few options, including the Red Line (Wilson stop) and the 81-Wilson bus. You will have a short walk (about half a mile) from either the Red Line stop or the bus stop. Plan your trip online here.

After the event, buses will be running between the finish line (Jackson Park) and the starting line, with an additional stop downtown. Runners taking public transit will have additional options after the run, as more CTA/Metra lines and routes will be running. If you're taking public transit, be sure to use the trip planner to organize your plan.



Volunteers are needed for the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler and 5K.  Please visit our volunteer page HERE for details. 


Frequently Asked Questions:

May I run with a stroller or a pet?

For the safety of all runners, participants are NOT allowed to participate with baby joggers, strollers or animals.


Will I be timed?

No, this is not a race. Runners are not timed and no results are produced.


Where can I pick-up my packet?

Packet pick-up locations, dates and times will be posted on the race web site and e-mailed to all registered participants once available. Locations will be available in the suburbs and the city. Packets only include your bib number. Shirts may only be received at the finisher and are for finishers only. Packets (race bibs) may be mailed for $8.00 if selected during the registration process.


Can a friend pick-up my packet?

Yes, a person may pick-up up to four packets at a time if they have the registration confirmation e-mail or copy of the drivers license (printed or on phone) of each person they wish to receive a packet for. If a person wishes to pick-up more than four packets and there is a line at packet pick-up they must return to the back of the line to receive additional packets.


Can I give my registration and or bib number to another person?

You may NOT give your registration to another person and another person may not run with another person’s bib/number.


Can my friends or family run with me if they are not registered?

No, unregistered persons may not run with you on the course or through the finish line. Running with an unregistered person will result in disqualification.


What if I don’t finish?

The event will have a shuttle to pick-up participants on the course that are unable to finish. Please understand the shuttle may not immediately return to the finish line area after pick-up. Participants may also have to wait for an extended period of time at an aid station while the shuttle moves through the course picking-up participants.


If I do not finish do I receive a finisher shirt?

No, finisher shirts are only provided to finishers immediately after crossing the finish line.


Can I defer or receive a refund?

Refunds will NOT be issued for any reason, including injury and other unforeseen issues. Registering early comes with decreased entry fees and registrants should understand their risk by choosing to register early, including no opportunity for refunds.


What is the events cancellation policy?

Event staff reserves the right to cancel or to modify the race if deemed necessary to protect the participants, the volunteers, the spectators or the host community. Cancellations out of the direct control of the event will be recognized as unforeseeable acts. Since the staging of the race results in substantial up-front expenses regardless of whether or not the race is completed, cancellation or modification of the event will not result in the refunding of fees or future event credits.


I am not able to run the race. Can I still get my shirt?

No, shirts are only available to finishers.


My shirt does not fit; may I exchange it for another size?

Yes, if you have not yet worn or washed your shirt you may exchange it post-run. Exchanges will not be available until after the event day.


I am part of a group. Are discounts available?

Yes, if you are part of a group please contact events@cararuns.org.


I am an elite athlete. Are their comp entries available?

No, we do not waive entry fees for elite athletes at Ready to Run.


What is the events weather policy?

Safety is our number one priority. If weather threatens our ability to safely run the event we will postpone if possible or cancel. We will not run in lightning. If there are weather delays or cancelations check CARA's social media acounts for up to date information.


If you still have a question e-mail events@cararuns.org or call 312-666-9836

Chicago Area Runners Association
549 West Randolph
Suite 704
Chicago, IL 60661

Office Hours: Tuesday - Friday 9AM - 5PM

P. 312.666.9836
F. 312.781.1736


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