Community Outreach / Advocacy


The Chicago Area Runners Association is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization with a mission to advocate for runners, to the provide opportunities for runners to train, race, learn, be social, and voluneer.

CARA was founded in 1978.

With approximately 5,000 members, CARA is the third largest local community of runners in America.

We are focused on service. Our members fill over 9,500 roles and give over 42,000 hours of volunteer service per year to make our programming possible.

We are the leader and largest provider of group training programs in America, with programs serving runners 8 to over 85.

We are making running more accessible, and building community by providing ‘Go Runs. A program that provides over 60 free-timed 1 Mile and 5K runs per year in neighborhood parks around Chicago.

We brings together Chicagoland’s running clubs for competition and camaraderie through the 15 race Runners’ Choice Circuit.

We are the voice of every runner, representing Chicagoland runners to municipalities on projects such as the Lakefront Trail Separation.

We provide nearly year round hydration stations are locations around Chicago. During summer months CARA stations give out as many as 20,000 cups of fluid per weekend.

We promote safe and quality event practices by administering the CARA Race Certification program and providing free race director clinics.

We develop future runners through the Chicago Stars! youth club and CARA Youth Circuit.

We promote community and social engagement through social events and fun runs.

We provide runners educational opportuntiies and informational resources for the local running community.

We support those who run for a greater purpose by training runners from over 50 charity fundraising teams. CARA charity runners raise over $1-million per year for local and national charities.