Race Directing

The Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) has a long history of supporting and assisting race directors as part of our mission to improve the running experience of our membership and all runners across Chicagoland. This fulfills, as well, our mission to raise the standard of road racing all across Chicagoland. This support comes in the form of advocacy, competitive structure, operational guidance, race certification, race promotion as well as awarding both participants and race directors who best help advance the mission to improve local running.

Education Resources

CARA Best Practices Guidelines - Guidelines for a quality, safe, and operationally successful event.


Sample Race Budget - New race directors may use these sample race budgets to aid in their planning.

Education Clinics - CARA hosts periodic education clinics. Check out our calendar HERE for clinics. As race directing clinics are added, they will be included.

Additional Resources

CARA Race Certification - Race's may partner with CARA to assert their excellence in event direction and to promote their events.


CARA Race Calendar Submissions - Submit your race to be included on our calendar HERE. Races that provide a CARA member discount will receive a free highlighted (color bar) listing.


Race Promotion - CARA offers opportunities for races to promote themselves to CARA membership and the Chicago area running community. Email Declan for details (declan@cararuns.org).

Recommended Service Providers

CARA partners and refers only the best and most respected companies and event professionals in Chicagoland. The partners below are of the highest quality and can be trusted with your event.


Apparel / Marathon Sportswear is proud to be the official apparel partner of the Chicago Area Runners Association.  Marathon is a family-owned company located in Blue Island. For over 38 years, we have customized apparel for thousands of races and events in the Chicagoland Area and throughout the Midwest.  We are passionate about running and are actively involved with the running community.  At Marathon, we combine this passion with state of the art printing equipment and techniques, fast turn-around times, and the most competitive pricing to provide your event with customized apparel suited to your specific needs.  Marathon Sportswear can accommodate orders of any size. Please contact Joe Piko for price quotes or questions (joepiko@marathonsportswear.net / 708-389-5390)


Awards / Running Awards & Apparel is the official awards partner of the Chicago Area Runners Association. Run by experienced running enthusiasts, Running Awards & Apparel offers Race Directors unparalleled assistance with all facets of running event development and with product needs; from event branding support to the design and manufacturing of a wide variety of medals, to custom overall awards and apparel for all types of running events. We help your runners celebrate the joy of running and help you keep them coming back year after year.

On the production end, our sales team is supported by a talented, in-house graphic design team as well as veteran engraving and printing artisans. With over 20-years of event and fulfillment experience under our belt, Running Awards & Apparel not only provides the highest quality of products and service but also industry-leading turn-around times to help our running communities meet their goals. Email: sarah.gatza@runningawardsandapparel.com; Phone: (630) 687-8758


Timing / Big River Race Management (BRRM) is the official timing partner of the Chicago Area Runners Association and official timer of CARA's Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler & 5K. Staying on the cutting edge of technology, BRRM has adopted the ChronoTrack Live RaceCasting services which feature online registration, onsite registration, dynamic race check-in, mobile results, real-time online results, mobile and social media athlete updates, onsite results, athlete photography and athlete video. Big River Race Management is proud to call themselves the Midwest's premier race timing and event management company.

Zach Edmonson would love to sit down and talk with you. Email him: zach@brrm.com or call (312) 972-9323.


Graphic Design / Greg Itahara - A process-driven design expert with over 20-years of experience with some of the industry’s most elite agencies and design studios, Greg has developed award-winning graphic campaigns for brands like Altoids, Starbucks, McDonalds, Procter & Gamble and Jenn-Air, and his print designs have been seen in magazines and billboards around the globe. 

 He has combined his two passions of endurance events and design to create one of a kind art for races, race kits, training programs, finisher medals, and apparel.

To see his portfolio visit www.gregitahara.com or email gregitahara@mac.com for a consultation on how to take your event to the next branded level.


Photo Delivery / Flashframe provides endurance photography tagging and hosting to races around the world of any size. Our platform provides a unique solution for both race directors, photographers, and spectators to share, distribute, and sell photos to event participants. Within minutes of uploading, participants can easily find their photos by searching bib number, or using a number of other unique search criteria including time, location, or, our patent pending, shirt color. Make race photography as simple as it should be and use Flashframe at your next race. For more information, contact Nate at nate@flashframe.io.

CARA Blog: Race Directing