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Jason M. Friske Joins CARA As The New Executive Director

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

Chicago Area Runners Association (“CARA”) announces the hire of Jason M. Friske, as its new Executive Director, to lead the not-for-profit organization.

Jason Friske started running way back in 1988, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he decided to try his hand at running a marathon. So, he joined CARA’s summer marathon training program, and he’s been a member ever since. Now with 13 marathons completed, including Boston, his passion for running and CARA is quite evident.

At the advent of the Executive Director’s position advertisement, Friske realized this was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for him to bring both his not-for-profit work experience and his running life together. With continued work in the sector for more than 20 years, he understands that membership needs are critical in developing an association’s package of services and programs.

“It’s important to bring running to underserved communities,” Friske said. “It’s a big part of my life, and it’s given me a better life. That’s something I’d like to share with the Chicagoland community.”

Before joining CARA as its Executive Director, Friske served as Senior Director of Operations for the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), where he managed the customer service team, membership database, website, data initiatives and the processing of more than $5 million in annual membership dues. Prior experience includes serving as the Executive Director of Zonta International, a service club organization with more than 30,000 members in 64 countries. Thus, it’s no surprise he describes himself as someone who’s strong with day-to-day operations but passionate about membership outreach. These traits are reflective of his excitement to further CARA’s mission to make running accessible to all areas of Chicago.

"Realizing CARA's not-for-profit mission during a pivotal moment in its history, needs leadership from an Executive Director like what Jason Friske brings to the organization,” said Kerl LaJeune, President of CARA’s Board of Directors. “His passion for running, advocacy, focused motivation for success, strategic thinking combined with celebrating the running community of Chicagoland, will impact CARA's goals profoundly. CARA is poised for continued growth and the Board of Directors proud in welcoming Jason to a dynamic team."

On behalf of the organization’s Board of Directors, Staff, Volunteers, and Industry partners, please join us in welcoming Jason Friske, CARA’s new Executive Director. Do not hesitate to reach out directly at


The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-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. With a growing membership exceeding 11,000 runners and running events/programming, CARA is the nation’s third-largest running club. To learn more about CARA, visit

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