Five family-friendly runs to try this summer

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 that’s great for real kids and overgrown ones alike. At the Bubble Run, you’ll slosh your way through foam bogs of colored—and 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.


For the neat freaks

Go ahead—run 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 they’ve accomplished—alongside 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.

For the feminists

We love that Lincoln Park Zoo doesn’t charge an admission fee, and this race helps keep it that way. This year’s United Run for the Zoo features a 5K for more casual runners and a 10K for true enthusiasts, both alongside the zoo’s lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). Plus there’s the popular Safari Stampede, a mini obstacle course for the under-8 crowd near the zoo’s 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.

For the animal lovers

Whether your allegiance is to Evanston’s Northwestern Wildcats or you’re a Hoosier, Wolverine or Badger, this race is for the most loyal fans around. At the BTN Big10K (also with a 5K option), you’ll choose your school from the conference’s 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.

For the sports fans

Crazy name aside, there’s 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, there’s 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.

For the down &dirty

5 more races readers love

Ozzie’s Home Run and Walk 5K: 8 a.m. May 30;

Chicago Gospel 5K: 8 a.m. May 30;  gospelrun.comThe Color Run: 8 a.m. June 7; Chicago’s Run for Their Lives:  9 a.m. June 14; Sunset 5K & Youth Races:  6 p.m. July 29;

- Advertisement -


13 North American Amusement Parks Growing The Most In Popularity

Explore the rise in popularity of North American amusement parks, with a look at the parks that saw the biggest visitor increases.

Awesome Special Needs Events for Chicagoland Kids

Enjoy some sensory-friendly fun in the city and surrounding areas.

The World’s Biggest Bounce House is Coming to Skokie

Traveling bounce houses are all the rage these days, but only one attraction holds the title of The World’s Biggest Bounce House – The...

Brighten Your Day at These Sunflower Fields Near Chicagoland

These sunflower fields near Chicagoland are filled with brilliant blooms from July through Labor Day.

- Advertisement -