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5 Reasons You Should Run CARA’s Runners’ Choice Circuit

If you need a little extra motivation to chase your personal and competitive goals, the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit is the place. For decades, the Chicago Area Runners Association has celebrated local race favorites by highlighting those events enjoyed most by runners for their high level of organization and enjoyable runner experience.

All runners are welcome on the Circuit. Both competitive and participation awards are up for grabs no matter your age or your speed. You can participate as an individual or with your local running club as you enjoy following the Circuit schedule.

More Circuit scoring details can be found here. The 2019 CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit line-up is listed below:

We think you should join in on the fun this year, but do not just take our word for it.

Here are five reasons from Circuit veterans on why you should run the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit:

1. You will set a goal and push yourself to reach it.​

If you want to earn the “Circuit Award” for participation, chasing the award will push you to train for and sign up for your chosen five races. Or if you want to earn place in your age group, you will challenge yourself to beat out your known competitors.

Angelica Guerrero, who will be participating in the circuit for the ninth time this year knows, “If you are fighting for an award, you’ll run multiple races throughout the year. If you like competition, you will find competition in the circuit and the best part is that you can compete at various levels.”

No matter what your goal is, set one for yourself at the beginning of the season and strive for progress as the year goes on.

2. You will find a sense of community.

Running the Circuit will let you see familiar faces race after race. You could notice runners who routinely race at similar paces and quickly find yourself running together race after race.

Erika Edmonson, Circuit competitor and CARA Board Member, thinks community is what makes the Circuit so special. “What I really love about the Circuit is the people. There’s always a couple friendly faces at the CARA tent if you want to drop your bag there instead of at gear check. And when I first started looking at Circuit race results, I saw a pattern of familiar names of other people in my age group. Eventually, I started recognizing faces and meeting new people. Some days I would come out on top and other days I had no fuel left in the tank, but when I crossed the finish line, I was greeted by smiles and high fives. I’d grab my water, and then turn around to cheer on who was coming next.”

Angelica echoes Erika, “The Circuit creates a sense of a large running community that spreads outside of Chicago city limits. Often times I go to a CARA race because I want to see runners who I usually do not see in any other place but in the races of the circuit.”

No matter where you live, or what running club you belong to you, you will feel a sense of community when running Circuit races.

3. You will get out of your comfort zone.

Running more often, faster, or farther, whatever your goal is - will get you out of your comfort zone. Lynn Crim, a 19 year Circuit participant, says, “Participating in the Circuit enables you to run a large variety of races and will challenge your toughness. You don't get the same boring race and instead you have a huge variety of races that will test you.”

The Circuit is different every year, so even if you run every race on the Circuit, the last year will not be the same as the next. The Circuit encourages you to try a new distance, hit a new PR or run more races in the calendar year than you ever have before. Each season is a new opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

4. You might find a new favorite race.

Running the Circuit might get you to add on some new races to your list of yearly choices. If you actively try to run some new races you have not run before, you just may find a new favorite.

Erika says the Good Life Race in Oak Park comes to her mind as one of the best. “It has a unique format with separate men's and women's races, which provides a rare opportunity for me to race only against other women. Competing against my peers is more exciting and empowers me to push harder. I don’t have to worry about some dude in basketball shorts out-kicking me at the end (no offense to dudes in basketball shorts). The best part is that after my race is over, I get to watch the men’s race and cheer for my husband, friends, and teammates. With kids' races as well, it can be an event for the whole family. It also has a flat, fast course, is very well organized and affordable, and has ample post-race goodies, which can be enjoyed indoors at the health fair. April weather is unpredictable, so being able to stay dry and warm pre- and post-race is significant.”

If you have not run the Good Life Race, make 2019 your year to sign up. Maybe it will become one of your favorites too.


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