Chicago Runs: Local Running Resources to Help you get to the Finish Line

Chicago Endurance Sports Runners the Soldier Field 10-miler
Chicago Endurance Sports Runners Just Before the Soldier Field 10-miler

Whether you are looking to run your first 5k or you are training for a marathon, Chicago offers a variety of different running groups and organizations to help you get race-day ready. Not sure if group running is for you? Consider this: research has shown that when you run with or are committed to an exercise plan where others are involved, you tend to give more effort than if you were training alone.

Running partners offer accountability. Here’s an overview of some of the groups and running stores that offer fun runs and training programs here in Chicago.

Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA)
Easily the largest organization, 30-year-old CARA is 9,000 members strong. Go to for training programs and meeting spots.

Chicago Endurance Sports (CES)
My personal favorite (I’m training with CES for the Chicago marathon this fall), this group caters to beginners looking to run their first long distance race to more experienced athletes. Check out for training programs and upcoming races.

Universal Sole
Universal Sole is a store in Lincoln Park that offers fun runs on Monday nights at 6:15pm (3052 N Lincoln Ave). For more, visit:

Fleet Feet
With locations in Lincoln Square, Old Town and soon-to-open in the South Loop, Fleet Feet is the source for all things running related and they offer a number of fun runs and training groups that meet any runners needs. Stop by one of their stores and speak to a knowledgeable employee or visit

(This article first appeared in the Chicago Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Summer 2013 Newsletter, available here:


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