CARA’s ‘Go Run program returns on February 1st with its weekly free 5K and 1 Mile events in neighborhood parks. In 2020 ‘Go Run will expand to reach 14 different Chicago parks, along with two suburban communities. The program aims to make running more accessible with a goal of activating neighborhood parks, building community and encouraging active lifestyle through running.
CARA launched the Go Run program in the spring of 2016 in partnership with the Chicago Park District. Since its start, the program has provided over 200 free timed running events at 11 different Chicago neighborhood parks. During that time, over 10,000 runners and walkers of all levels, including families and children, have taken part. CARA’s ‘Go Run program surpassed 4,000 finishers (4,182) for the first time in 2019, an increase of 18% from our previous high.
In Chicago, the 2020 ‘Go Run schedule will again include Big Marsh Park, Columbus Park, Horner Park, Humboldt Park, River Park, Warren Park, Washington Park, 606 Trail (Walsh Park), and 63rd Street Beach. New additions in Chicago include Calumet Park, the Chicago River Trail (Clark Park), Douglas Park, Garfield Park, and Marquette Park.
‘Go Run will reach the suburbs for the first time thanks to new partnerships with the Arlington Heights Park District (Lake Arlington and Sunset Park) and the Palos Heights Park District (Lake Katherine). Two dates will be held at Lake Katherine, with one each at both Lake Arlington and Sunset Park.
All ‘Go Runs are held on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. A complete schedule may be found at www.gorunchicago.org. Participants can register on the same website or onsite between 8:15 a.m. and 8:55 a.m. prior to the run. Participants only need to register once per calendar year to participate in all 2020 events.
Participants can earn a free ‘Go Run shirt by completing participation challenges. Building off the success of last year’s “‘Go Run Bingo” CARA is introducing a fun new game, “CARA-Land”. The back of all ‘Go Run bibs will include a unique board game design. Finishers receive points for each ‘Go Run and move through the board until they reach the finish, then receiving their free shirt to celebrate their accomplishment.
The ‘Go Run program speaks to CARA’s goals to make running more accessible at all levels, aiming to remove barriers to become involved in organized running. Cost is certainly one of those barriers, and ‘Go Runs remain 100% free to everyone which has especially been impactful on families who want to run together. CARA is able to provide this free running program through park district partnerships along with the support of CARA memberships, donations, and CARA program/event participation.
Cost is not the only barrier to entry for many. An often less considered barrier is geography. CARA, along with our partner park districts, are working to activate running in neighborhood parks, so that no matter where one lives, everyone can enjoy an active lifestyle and the community found through running close to home.
All are welcome at ‘Go Run, long-time runners and newcomers alike. Whether you like to race, run, jog, or walk, ‘Go Run is welcoming to all. Free registration is available at www.gorunchicago.org.
Volunteers are also needed to help produce these events. Volunteer roles are 8:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on each ‘Go Run date. Please consider volunteering at least once this year to help support this impactful program. A sign-up is available at www.gorunchicago.org. Those interested in getting involved in ‘Go Run leadership may reach out to CARA Program Manager Jim Akita (email@example.com).
2020 ‘Go Run Schedule:
*Arlington Heights dates TBA
Check www.gorunchicago.org for details and schedule updates prior to each ‘Go Run.