Runners looking to test their speed in a race setting will have the chance to do so in one of Chicago’s newest outdoor attractions later this month. The Chicago Area Runners Association will host the inaugural Run the Ribbon Mile at Maggie Daley Park on June 20, using the popular skating ribbon for the race’s course.
“We take our runs through the park to the lakefront, and thought it’d be a cool venue to host a race,” CARA executive director Ed Zylka says. “[The ribbon] happens to be a quarter mile, making it a great venue for a mile.”
The mile, a rare distance for a race in the city of Chicago, will feature both local elite runners of all ages based on invitation and an open race for other runners. Only 500 runners will have the chance to take part in this year’s event.
“We had to predict how many runners we could accommodate per heat and per wave,” Zylka says. “With all paces, we want to make sure no one gets lapped.”
The ribbon features curves and elevation changes, making the race more like a road race than a track race. Even with these challenges, CARA hopes to attract particularly fast runners and offers a $500 bonus for men who can break 4:00 and women who can break 4:40. CARA will also award cash prizes to the top three male and female finishers, with first place runners winning $300, second place runners winning $200 and third place runners winning $100.
The race serves as a fundraiser for CARA’s new Community Advocacy Fund, which will allow the organization to improve trail amenities for local runners and enhance its youth advocacy efforts.
TRAC, a local timing startup founded by Northwestern alum Griffin Kelly and Elliot Hevel, will provide chip timing for the race. The system allows times to push immediately from the cloud to a person’s personal device or tablet, making it easy for runners to see their official finish times.
To learn more about the race and to register, visit www.runtheribbon.com.