Runners' Choice Circuit

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About

The CARA Runners' Choice Circuit provides a competitive structure and recognition for Chicagoland runners and clubs. The Circuit annually honors Chicagoland’s top runners and clubs with Runner of the Year and Club Champion titles. Comprised of various race distances, the Runners’ Choice Circuit providers all runners - both recreational and competitive - with the opportunity to chase personal, club, and competitive goals. 

Circuit Schedule (2021)

The Circuit features Chicagoland’s most well organized and well-appreciated races. Circuit races are found in both the city and suburbs and include both major world-class events and local club races alike. Circuit races are annually assembled with the input of CARA’s membership, the CARA Racing Committee, the CARA staff, and CARA Board of Directors.

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Awards & Scoring (Individual)

CARA Racing Award

All runners have the opportunity to earn the CARA Racing Award in one of three ways:

  1. Finish 10 CARA Certified races

  2. Finish 5 Runners' Choice Circuit races

  3. Finish any three CARA produced races (Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler / 5k, Honda Miles Per Hour, CARA's Chi-Town Miles, Spring Trail Chase, Summer Trail Chase, or Autumn Trail Chase)

 

CARA Runners of the Year

Chicagoland's top runners can be named Runner of the Year in the following categories: Overall, Masters (ages 40+), Veteran (ages 50+), Senior (ages 60+), and Super Senior (ages 70+). Runners of the Year are selected by the Race Committee through Circuit success.

 

Individual Circuit Awards

Runners can earn recognition as Chicagoland's top runners in a variety of CARA Circuit categories.​

  • Overall - Top 10 Males and Females in Circuit Standings.

  • Age Graded - Top 10 Age-Graded runners (using age grading scoring).

  • Age Groups - Top 3 Per Category (Males and Females Ages: 14 & Under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85 & Over.).

  • Clydesdale/Athena - Top 3 Per Category (Clydesdale A = Males 185-199 pounds, Clydesdale B = Males 200-224 pounds, Clydesdale C = Males 225+ pounds, Athena A = Females 155-169 pounds, Athena B = Females 170+ pounds).

 

Clydesdale/Athena

Top 3 Per Category (Clydesdale A = Males 185-199 pounds, Clydesdale B = Males 200-224 pounds, Clydesdale C = Males 225+ pounds, Athena A = Females 155-169 pounds, Athena B = Females 170+ pounds).

 

Scoring Rules

Membership: To be eligible for individuals awards, runners must be a CARA Supporter Level Member by July 1 of the awarding year. Non-awards eligible runners will be dropped from the standings at the end of the season, but individual races will not be re-scored.

Registration: No special registration is needed to score in the Circuit's overall, age-graded, or age-group categories. Registration is required for the Clydesdale/Athena categories. Those runners must register HERE.

Minimum Number of Races: To be award eligible, one must run a minimum of 5 of the 15 Circuit races. If and when there are fewer than 15 races scheduled, the minimum number of races will be adjusted to a number equal to 1/3 of the total number of races, rounded down.

 

Maximum Races Scored:  Only scores from a runners 8 best races count for their total score. All of their other scores are dropped. Runners 19 & under will only have their six best scores count for their total. Runners 14 & under may not score in races 10 miles and longer. If and when there are fewer than 15 races scheduled, the maximum number of scores counted will be adjusted to a number equal to 1/2 of the total number of races, plus one. That number rounded down.

Placing: For each gender, the top 25 runners receive points in the overall and age-graded categories (25 for first, 24 for second, etc.). The top 15 runners in each gender receive points in age-group and Clydesdale/Athena categories (15 for first, 14 for second, etc.). Runners not receiving points are not including in the standings.

Residency: Runners are automatically scored if they are from the state of Illinois. Non-members not from Illinois will not be scored and their places are skipped in results. Out-of-state CARA members will be scored after declaration of participation by e-mailing circuit@cararuns.org. Scores will not be counted until such declaration.

Age Determination: A runner's age-group for Circuit scoring is determined by their age on July 1 of the awarding year, not age on each race day.

 

Ties: Ties in individual categories will be broken by totaling the tied runner's five best age-graded scores. If a tie still remains, the tie will be broken by comparison of the tied runners best age-graded score. If still tied, this process will continue using the runners next best score until the tie is broken

Clydesdale / Athena Rules:  All runners registered for this category, for each weight category, receive an age-graded score for each race based on World Masters Association age-grading tables. The runners with the top age-graded scores receive points. In each category first receives 15 points, second 14 points, third 13 points and so on. Registration: Runners participating in Clydesdale/Athena must register their intent to participate by July 1, 2020. After registering, runners must weigh in at the CARA tent at a CARA Circuit race to confirm their category. Weigh-ins must be completed by July 31. Weigh-in is ONLY available at the CARA tent at each race.

 

Awards & Scoring (Clubs / Teams)

To be eligible to score for a club/team, one must be a CARA Friend Level or Supporter Level Member, and included on applicable clubs/teams roster prior to being counted in scores.

Club/Team Categories

Clubs and Teams may compete to be honored as the top clubs in the area in a variety of categories. The top three club teams are awarded. 

  • Combined - Males and females combined, a club's rank at each race is determined by the combination of their top 5 runners age-graded scores.

  • Open (Male & Female) - For each gender, a club's rank at each race is determined by the addition of their top 5 runners' finish times.

  • Masters (Male & Female) - For each gender, a club's rank at each race is determined by the addition of their top 3 runners, over 40 years old, finish times.

  • Veteran (Male & Female) - For each gender, a club's rank at each race is determined by the addition of their top 3 runners, over 50 years old, finish times.

  • Senior (Male & Female) - For each gender, a club's rank at each race is determined by the addition of their top 3 runners, over 60 years old, finish times.

 

Club/Team Registration

  • All area running clubs, racing teams, running groups, running store teams, and corporate running teams that have a membership roster are eligible to participate. 

  • There is no fee for clubs/teams, but registration is required.

  • Team captains must register and submit a roster of runners to score with each member to be included in scoring. Roster must include full name, gender, date of birth, city/state, and e-mail. Updates are allowed through the season but must be received at least 24 hours prior to each race to count new runners at that race.

  • To register, complete the registration form and roster template (Excel Doc.), and e-mail to circuit@cararuns.org.

The CARA Awards Party, presented by the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, is a night of celebration for the running community! Enjoy camaraderie with fellow running community members as we honor top performers from the CARA Runners Choice Circuit, and recognize CARA Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award inductees.

CARA Hall of Fame inductees will be honored, along with award winners from the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit. 

Date: TBD 2022 (Traditionally held the Saturday of Super Bowl Weekend)

Location: TBD

Awards Party

Hall of Fame

Runners are inducted to the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit Hall of Fame through long-standing success in the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit. Each year award winners are given five points for a 1st place finish in age-group or Clydesdale/Athena categories. Three points are awarded for a second-place finish, and 1 point for a third-place finish. Once a runner has earned 30 total points they are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Awards History

2020 (Canceled)

2019

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2009

Prior years not available.

CARA Racing Committee

The CARA Race Committee, in collaboration with CARA staff, leads the CARA Circuit and represents participating local running clubs.

Erika Edmonson
Committee Chair
Nick Bensen
Committee Member
Lance Caldwell
Committee Member
Brett Geschke
Committee Member
Scott Mangum
Committee Member
Beth Onines
Committee Member
Doug Pearson
Committee Member
Brian Sweney
Committee Member
Jeff West
Committee Member

The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. We are Chicagoland’s running club, providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer. 

CARA, with over 10,000 members, is the nation’s third-largest running club, serving as the voice of local runners, as well as providing over 1,300 dates of programming and events per year.

 

Proud member of the Road Runners Club of America.

© 2020 Chicago Area Runners Association. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 36-3054942​