Give Back

Running has the power to instill resolve, boost health, build strength, and change lives. CARA runners use that power in myriad ways.

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 enhance the lives of at-risk teens through our CARA Road Scholars Program.
  • 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 certify over 100 races a year through our Best Practices Guidelines, ensuring that runner safety and experience are the top priority.
  • We help maintain the Chicago lakefront path and have adopted a mile on the Elgin Branch of the Prairie Path.
  • 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.
  • We advocate—for green races, clean air initiatives, and more.

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CARA Community

"CARA offers advocacy and volunteer opportunities to give back to the wonderful running community, as well as great discounts for races and community partners."
-Alexis F.