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  • Writer's pictureGreg Hipp, Executive Director

'Go Run Is Serving A Purpose To Grow And Support A Healthy And Vibrant Running Community

We recently completed our spring 'Go Run season at Columbus Park. 'Go Run (short for Chica-"Go Run") has now provided almost 150 timed 5K and 1 mile events in neighborhood Chicago Parks since its start in May 2016. These events have increased grassroots running opportunities in Chicago, helped us explore our parks, and have been cost free for participants.

'Go Run is welcoming to everyone who enjoys running. Participants come for any number of reasons... "It's my first race", "I can run with my family", "It's free and close to home", "I'm chasing a PR", or "It's a great way to get in a hard effort".

I enjoy the laid back, stress free atmosphere at 'Go Run. At 'Go Run, its a throwback to the grassroots races that helped me get my start in running. The focus is on simply enjoying running, and coming together. I find them to be a great change of pace, and having 'Go Runs, as well as mainstream races on my calendar keeps me inspired, not only to run, but to keep working hard to serve the running community.

Another purpose of 'Go Run is to insure that running opportunities are accessible for our entire community. For many of us, in the places we live, finding organized running opportunities is no challenge. But that is not the case for all. There are places in our city where running events are not easily accessible, and even though opportunities are abundant in neighborhoods not far away, there may be travel, and or cost barriers, for individuals and families to get there and take part.

CARA, in partnership with the Chicago Park District, has been removing those barriers through 'Go Run. Thousands of new runners have taken part in our free neighborhood 'Go Runs that may not have found running through a mainstream event that may have once felt intimidating to them, or simply was cost prohibitive.

'Go Run is serving a purpose to grow and support a healthy and vibrant running community. But as successful as 'Go Run has been in its infancy, we need to grow and increase our impact. Our greatest strength as an organization has been our collective power as a group. If we all come together, we can accomplish a lot for Chicago running, and the community.

There are approximately 5,000 CARA members, and 10's of thousands more that are part of the full running community that we serve. If you have not yet experienced 'Go Run, I challenge you to come out for at least one run this summer or fall season. You will experience something unique for yourself, but also help support our efforts to engage new runners into our community. Whether your visit with 'Go Run is to run, or volunteer, I am confident you will feel inspired.

Check out this feature from The U's The Jam on 'Go Run (filmed last year).



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