For the exercise-averse among us, running a 5K might not sound like quality family time. But these five races are so much fun, you’ll barely realize you’re breaking a sweat—and they’re perfect for all types of families. After all, the family that runs together, stays together, right? Or at least avoids hypertension.
If it is true that families who run together have fun together, you are in for a really fun summer because these races get top props from us and our readers.
This sudsy spectacle makes its way to Chicago, bringing a non-competitive run thats great for real kids and overgrown ones alike. At the Bubble Run, youll slosh your way through foam bogs of coloredand non-toxic bubbles. Kids 6 and under run for free but they can buy a kids pack that includes a pair of goggles to keep the bubbles out of their eyes. And the post-race party includes music, dance-offs and foam cannons galore. 9 a.m. May 30. Chicagoland Speedway, 500 Speedway Blvd., Joliet. bubblerun.com/events/
For the neat freaks
Go aheadrun like a girl! Girls on the Run empowers girls in grades 3-8 through the sport of running, and this annual 5K run celebrates all theyve accomplishedalongside their parents, coaches and friends. All runners, regardless of gender, take their marks at Grant Park for a lakefront course, and then enjoy a post-race celebration that includes music, face painting and even tiara decorating for your little running royal. 9 a.m. June 7. Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago. gotrchicago.org
For the feminists
We love that Lincoln Park Zoo doesnt charge an admission fee, and this race helps keep it that way. This years United Run for the Zoo features a 5K for more casual runners and a 10K for true enthusiasts, both alongside the zoos lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). Plus theres the popular Safari Stampede, a mini obstacle course for the under-8 crowd near the zoos Park Place Café. After the race, enjoy a party with food and giveaways, as well as a chance to visit with the animals. 8 a.m. June 7. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. lpzoo.org
For the animal lovers
Whether your allegiance is to Evanstons Northwestern Wildcats or youre a Hoosier, Wolverine or Badger, this race is for the most loyal fans around. At the BTN Big10K (also with a 5K option), youll choose your school from the conferences 14 and get a school-specific race shirt, then cool down afterward with mascots, former players, classic tailgating and even some waterslides. 7 a.m. July 25. Soldier Field Campus, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago. btnbig10k.com
For the sports fans
Crazy name aside, theres no doubt the BADASS Dash is designed for all ages. The 7K race features more than 30 obstacles, from monkey bars to huge hay bale piles. Plus, theres a 200-yard Kids Dash for racers 4-6 (parents must participate, too) with special kid-sized obstacles and a 1-mile course for those 7-13 who can handle some tougher challenges. The post-race festival includes food, fun and a chance to wash off all the mud. Best of all, proceeds benefit Autism Speaks, a badass organization we can all love. 8 a.m. Aug. 29. The Ballpark at Rosemont, 27 Jennie Finch Way, Rosemont. badassdash.com
For the down &dirty
5 more races readers love
Ozzies Home Run and Walk 5K: 8 a.m. May 30; kccougars.com
Chicago Gospel 5K: 8 a.m. May 30; gospelrun.comThe Color Run: 8 a.m. June 7; thecolorrun.com/chicagoPAWS Chicagos Run for Their Lives: 9 a.m. June 14; pawschicago.org/eventsSummer Sunset 5K & Youth Races: 6 p.m. July 29; foxrivertrailrunners.org/summersunset