Is one of your resolutions or plans for 2021 to run a 5K, a marathon or just get out of the house? Spring is the perfect time to start training, or work off the training you’ve been doing indoors all winter. A virtual run can help you accomplish any movement goal you have, even if you compete on your treadmill. Sign up for one of these races to raise money for charity and ramp up your workout.
Chicago & Suburbs
- Cost: $40
- Swag: Bunny ears, sunglasses, a dri-fit T-shirt, and finisher medal
- Complete by: April 1-30
Fans of the Bunny Rock that has previously run as an event including an egg hunt for kids. This year, the race can be run anytime during April and the swag is still as cool. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Red Door Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter in Chicago.
- Cost: $25 individual, $75 family of four
- Swag: T-shirt, bib and medal
- Complete by: April 10-17
April is Month of the Military Child and military and civilian families can run the virtual 5K to raise money to support kids whose parents have joined the U.S. Armed Forces. Racers are encouraged to walk, run, skate or bike, however their family likes to be active together.
- Cost: $25-$75 + donations
- Swag: T-shirt, swag bag
- Complete by: April 3-10
Benefitting the Northcenter Chamber and Common Pantry, families are encouraged to run or walk through the Northcenter neighborhood, creating their own routes or accessing preset maps. Bingo cards are available for families that choose a more leisurely path or that want to create friendly competition. Prizes are available for individuals and teams.
- Cost: $35-$55 + donations
- Swag: T-shirt, finisher’s medal
- Complete by: April 18
Formerly the Hustle Up the Hancock, this year’s event can be completed virtually or outdoors at Soldier Field on April 18. The yearly event benefits the Respiratory Health Association. For the climb at Soldier Field, climbers will be assigned one of eight sections in the 400 level (upper deck, 104-110 steps per section) with eight climbers per wave. Each wave has 20 minutes to complete as many climbs up and down as possible. Virtual climbers are guided on an interactive fitness journey and are not required to raise funds.
- Cost: $35
- Swag: Finisher’s medal, t-shirt and other WBEZ swag items
- Complete by: May 1-30
This race will take place in the neighborhood of your choice. While running the path through one of the 20 neighborhoods selected by WBEZ’s Curious City, listen to a story of the neighborhood as curated by the program. Stories vary from 9-15 minutes, about the length of a quick 5K. Registered participants can also join an exclusive Facebook page to discuss their race.
- Cost: $24.99-$34.99
- Swag: Sticker, race bib, finisher’s certificate (add ons include: T-shirt, virtual animal experience); children’s race participants receive child’s T-shirt, medal, sticker, access to the virtual animal experience, virtual bib and finisher’s certificate
- Complete by: June 5-13
Choose between a 5K or 10K – or kids 10 and under can pick the Safari Stampede – to race at your own pace to benefit the Lincoln Park Zoo. Participants who donate or raise a minimum of $25 will earn a commemorative supporter medal.
- Cost: $26.99-$39.99
- Swag: Choice of shirt, finishers medal, race bib
- Complete by: Through Dec. 31
Choose your distance and your own race date to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This race program has challenges in five cities across the country, and if you’re feeling ambitious, you can sign up for the 5 Cities Challenge to earn a medal from each location (New York, Boston, Las Vegas and San Francisco).
- Cost: $99.95
- Swag: Milestone pins and finisher’s medal, optional T-shirt and bib
- Complete by: Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021
Take as long as you need to run or walk 100 or 500 miles at your own pace. Each milestone will earn you a special Sesame Street-themed pin. Your kids can join the fun as youth shirts are available.
- Cost: $45
- Swag: T-shirt or water bottle ($15 extra if you want both)
- Complete by: March 15-June 12
Pick a distance goal – 50K, 100K, 250K, or 500K (translates to about 31 miles, 62 miles, 155 miles or 310 miles) – and reach it incrementally throughout the time period. Online badges and bonus events will keep you going over the three-month period. Proceeds benefit Feeding America.
- Cost: TBA
- Swag: Unicorn finisher’s medal
- Complete by: TBA
For the first time, racers can earn a Boston Marathon finisher’s medal without a qualifying time. The virtual race is open to the first 70,000 registrants (watch baa.org for more info about open registration). Racers seeking to extend a finishing streak will be elated to know that a virtual finish counts toward another year. The in-person marathon is scheduled for Oct. 11, 2021.
- Cost: $35
- Swag: Dry Fit T-shirt, Bib, Finisher Medal
- Complete by: July 1
Also known as the “Don’t Waste Your Shot 5K,” the T-shirt and medal are enough to make any Hamilton fan want to sign up. The race benefits the MEB Foundation, which raises money to support initiatives that focus on education, fitness and health for kids.
This story is updated regularly.
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