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4 Chicago races in January to start 2018 off right

Call me lame, an overachiever or boring (or all three), but this New Year’s Eve, I’ll be heading to bed around 10:30 p.m. to run a race on New Year’s morning. (It’s just a 5K, and when I say “just,” that’s actually, like, a lot for me. I see you smirking, marathoners. I see you.) 

The decision to sign up for a race on New Year’s Day was deliberate, and with a few reasons behind it. 1) I’ve never enjoyed going out on New Year’s Eve, 2) I’ve never enjoyed feeling like complete junk on New Year’s Day, and 3) I fully support the cheesy symbolism that represents a commitment to fitness in 2018.  

While researching “races to run on Jan. 1 so that I might freeze to death,” I came across quite a few during the month of January that looked fun. (Well, OK, “fun.”) Behold, train, or don’t, and remember what we tell our kids: it’s not about winning or losing (eye roll, yes it is). 

Commitment Day 

When: Jan. 1 

Where: Bloomingdale or Orland Park

This family-friendly race kicks off at 10 a.m. at Life Time Fitness in both Bloomingdale and Orland Park. Get your grub on at the brunch social afterward, Registration is free for kids 12 and younger with a registered adult.

Polar Dash Chicago

When: Jan. 6 

Where: Grant Park 

A variety of distances make this race suitable for nearly all levels of running (even mine). Choose from the Mt. Everest Challenge or Yeti Challenge (combination races each with three separate starting times), a half marathon, a 10K, or a timed or untimed 5K. Little ones 12 and younger can even do an 1800M.  

F3 Lake Half Marathon

When: Jan. 20 

Where: Soldier Field

Billed as Chicago’s original winter half marathon, this race — which also offers a 5K — is a fantastic excuse to join the party afterward at Kroll’s. And here’s a fun fact: this race was launched by Chicago resident Kimberley Stedman, who used to travel to warm weather races during the winter until she decided to take matters into her own hands. The race has been described as a “grassroots gaggle of runners who like to drink and run en masse.” Enough said. 

Step Up For Kids

When: Jan. 28

Where: Aon Center

If you run one race this year, this should be it — and hey, it’s not even really a “race,” if that helps. Climb 80 floors to the top of the Aon Center, and you’ll help raise money for the patients and families of Lurie Children’s Hospital. The fundraiser, in its 21st year, also offers a half-climb, as well as registration options for kids 12 and younger. Join as an individual or form a team — and get ready to make it to the top. 

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