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Everything You Need To Know About The CARA Runners' Choice Circuit

Spring is here, and so is the start of the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit. Here is everything you need to enjoy the competition and camaraderie of the Circuit! (

What is the Circuit?:

Runners of all levels annually participate in CARA Circuit Races to chase personal and competitive goals, to complement their year-long training programs and to enjoy the camaraderie of the CARA running community.

The circuit includes many of 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.

Why does CARA host the Circuit?:

The CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit has been developed to promote participation local races, to create a competitive structure for area runners and has long been a source of camaraderie for local runners and within and between local running clubs. We love how the Circuit is a conduit to community building between all of the incredible members of the running community.

Who participates in the Circuit?:

Runners of all levels, ages, and backgrounds annually participate. Some participate to compete, some to seek personal improvement, and for many, to enjoy the community of the Circuit. Following the Circuit allows runners to see many of the same runners race after race, allowing for competition, and new friendships! Running clubs and Corporate Teams also participate in team scoring to compete, and to be a source of camaraderie within, and between local clubs.

What categories are there?:

Individual: Overall, Age Graded, Age Groups (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, 75 & Over), Clydesdale, and Athena.

Club/Team: Combined, Male/Female Open, Masters, Veteran, Senior, Super Senior, as well as Corporate.

Do I have to be a CARA member to participate?:

Yes, to be award eligible for individual awards. No, to score for your club/team. CARA membership is only $35. Membership includes registration discounts to Circuit races and many others.

Do I have to register?:

Registration is not required for all individual categories, except Clydesdale/Athena. All runners are automatically scored for individual categories, except Clydesdale & Athena. For Clydesdale/Athena please register (free) HERE. Club and Corporate teams must also register (FREE) HERE.

What races are included?:

03.25 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K (Chicago) 04.08 The Good Life Race 5K (Oak Park) 04.21 Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler (Chicago) 04.29 Ravenswood Run 5K (Chicago) 05.12 Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile (Lemont) 05.19 The Lew Blond Memorial 5K (Northbrook) 06.02 Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 10K (Wheaton) 06.17 Race Against Hate 5K (Evanston) 07.04 Elmhurst 4 on the 4th 4 Mile (Elmhurst)* 07.14 Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Mile (Darien) 07.29 NU Run for Walk 4.1 Mile (Evanston) 09.08 Itasca Octoberfast 5K (Itasca) 09.23 Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago) 10.07 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago) 10.27 Lake Bluff PTO Pumpkin Chase 5K (Lake Bluff)

Links to each race are on our schedule page HERE.

How are races chosen?:

CARA's volunteer member Race Committee, and with CARA staff, meet through the year to plan and manage the Circuit. The committee uses feedback from CARA Certified Race survey's, member feedback, feedback from local running clubs, and the CARA Board of Directors, to choose the schedule. In addition to runner feedback, the committee works to provides races throughout Chicagoland, and races of a variety of distances. Races interested in being part of the Circuit should become CARA Certified at least the year prior to their interest, put on a great race, and send out the CARA Certified Race Survey to their participants so the race committee can review their race.

What are the rules?:

Complete rules are HERE. The basics for an individual are - A runner’s age group placement is based on their age on July 1. Not their age at each particular race. This allows them to remain int he same Circuit age-group the entire year. Runners must finish at least five races to become award eligible, and only their eight best scores will count for their total. You do not have to run all 15 races to be competitive. Runners will be automatically scored if they are from the state of Illinois or are CARA members. Runners under 14 will not be scored in races 10 miles and over. Runners 19 & under must only finish three races to become awards eligible, and only their six best scores will count for their total.

What awards are there?:

CARA provides awards to the top 10 overall and age-graded, and top three in every other individual category. The top three clubs/teams in each category are also awarded.

Runners who finish at least five (5) Circuit races receive the "Circuit Award", and runners who finish at least ten (10) Circuit or CARA Certified races receive the "Participation Award". Circuit and Participation award winners will need to submit an application at in November. Check back at for the form then.

Where do I receive my award?:

CARA annual hosts the CARA Awards Party the Saturday prior to Super Bowl Sunday. We award runners and enjoy social time with local runners.

Where are standings posted?:





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