If you're like us, you indulged in a few extra brownies this spring, figuring you'd work them off by June. But since then, you've spent far more time drinking in your backyard than jogging down the lakefront path. Maybe you need a good cause to motivate you to put down the Newcastle and put on your New Balances. Here are a few ways to get fit for charity.
United Run For The Zoo
June 1, 2008
Besides 1868 being a hell of a long time ago, it was also the year that Lincoln Park Zoo opened. Show your support of one of the oldest public (and free, let's not forget) institutions in the nation by strapping on your sneakers and signing up for this race. Participating in the 5K or 10K runs ($25 or $30 on race day), a 5K fun walk ($17 or $20 race day) or the free kid's Cheetah Chase—all of which wind through the zoo—seems like the least we can do to make sure the polar bear stays comfy.
Proud to Run 2008
June 28, 2008
You don't just have to show your lesbian and gay pride at the Gay Pride Weekend parade. If you're looking for a more low-key, high-endurance event, try 27th-annual Proud to Run 5 K/10 K run and two-mile walk. The event, which starts and finishes just north of Montrose Harbor, raises funds to aid health and service organizations and is open to anyone regardless of sexual orientation. Registration for the runs costs $30, while the walk rings in at $25.
Niketown Bastille Day 5K Run, Walk and Block Party
July 10, 2008
If you're too timid to join a French Revolution re-enactment group, but are still itching to find a way to commemorate the storming of the Bastille, running through the West Loop in the Bastille Day 5K Run may be as close as you'll get. The course starts and ends on Jackson, where crossing the finish line means walking into a beer- and food-filled block party. Non-racers are welcome to join the party, which will feature live music and last until about 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a residential child-care facility for abused, abandoned and neglected children.
Chicago Fire Fighters Union Run for the Kids 5K
July 17, 2008
This race isn't limited to ripped firefighters. (Sigh.) But the Run for the Kids 5K is sponsored by said hunks and honeys—more specifically, the Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 members and independent charitable unit of Local 2, who have donated over $2,000 to children's foundations since the race's inception in 2001. The 5K run ($30) starts at the Soldier Field Great Lawn and travels past the Shedd, following Lake Shore Drive. Kids can take part in a dash ($15) all on their own or visit the Teddy Bear Clinic and Safety Town at the Kid's Corral. No rollerblades, bikes or dogs allowed.
Women's 5K, 10K and Festival
July 20, 2008
This no-boys-allowed race promises massages after the finish line. Not hooked yet, ladies? The first 3,200 participants receive a non-shrinkable Nike Dri-FIT Tempo Top and other new Nike products at the post-race festival. Nike will also be giving awards to the top finishers, as well as fastest combined mother/daughter and sister teams. The $30 5K and 10K registration fee benefits Catch Your Breath, a Woman and Lung Cancer Health Initiative. The co-ed kids race costs $10.
Elvis Is Alive 5K
August 7, 2008
If you do a double-take after spotting a running Elvis this summer, know it ain't no ghost. It's the real thing—well, the real fake thing. Dressing as the King for the Elvis is Alive 5K will get you a front position at the starting line. If you're an Elvis fanatic but a never-before racer, don't shy away: The No Boundaries training program will help motivate beginners to prepare for the race (that means no grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches). The self-timed run, which starts in Grant Park at the southwest corner of Columbus Drive and Balbo Drives, costs $25, and the proceeds go to Rock for Reading, an initiative to curb illiteracy. A post-race party will feature entertainment from—well—you know who.
Race Judicata 2008
August 14, 2008
Trade in your briefcase for New Balances at the Race Judicata 5K Run/Walk. In its 15th year, the race benefits the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation, which provides pro bono representation to Chicagoans in need, striving to make sure the law protects people of all economic classes. No dogs, bikes, rollerblades or strollers are allowed in the $33-a-person race. Awards will be given to the top overall man and woman, as well as the top overall male and female lawyers. A post-race party, with drinks, snacks and live music from the local band Skapone, concludes the day.
PAWS Chicago 8th Annual Run for Their Lives
Pet lover or no, you can't deny the great work of PAWS Chicago, an organization that runs "no kill" shelters, aids in the adoption of homeless animals and provides free spay and neuter services for underserved communities. It costs $30 to register for the 8K run or 4K walk, with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit. The family- and pooch-friendly race takes place at Montrose Harbor, and in past years, pet owners with style (and a sense of humor) were encouraged to enter the Howl-o-ween costume contest, a dog and master dress-up competition.