Top 100 Illinois Running Events

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As you begin to prepare for a new season, the first step is making note of the races you want to compete in, and planning out a schedule. Many coaches advise athletes to select one or two “A” races, or target races, to put most of your focus on throughout the season. Once those are chosen, athletes should pick a handful of “B” races; “B” races should still be competitive and important to you, but might be shorter distances, less expensive, or simply a must-do each year. Finally, athletes can have several “C” races during the year, which can serve as a hard workout during training, but don’t require much emphasis.

Living near one of the biggest running cities in the country, it can be difficult to narrow down the few races you will choose to participate in this year. To help alleviate some of that overwhelming stress, we’ve compiled a list of 100 Illinois running events that have high ratings on several review websites.

Please note: This is not a comprehensive or definitive list of the best races in Illinois. In order to appease our audience, we selected races from all over the state, of all distances, and at all times of the year. For more races, visit Chicago Athlete’s online race calendar

Event Name Location Date
Frozen Gnome 50k/10k Crystal Lake 13-Jan
F^3 Lake Half Marathon Chicago 20-Jan
Universal Sole Valentine’s Trail Challenge Race Chicago 10-Feb
Frosty 5 Miler Channahon 11-Feb
Oak Forest Fleadh Oak Forest 3-Mar
St. Paddy’s 5k/8k Run Chicago 17-Mar
Hillstriders March Madness Half Marathon Cary 18-Mar
Paleozoic Trail Runs Willow Springs 24-Mar
Penguin in the Park 5K Decatur 24-Mar
Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Chicago 25-Mar
Potawatomi Trail Runs Pekin 5-Apr
Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon Springfield 7-Apr
Good Life Race Oak Park 8-Apr
Chicago Lakefront 50k Chicago 14-Apr
Earth Day Trail Run Crystal Lake 21-Apr
Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler Chicago 21-Apr
Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon Geneva 21-Apr
Champion of Trees 10K Lisle 22-Apr
Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Champaign 28-Apr
DuPage Human Race Downers Grove 28-Apr
Ravenswood Run 5K Chicago 29-Apr
Southwest Half Marathon Palos Heights 6-May
Great Western Half Marathon Maple Park 6-May
Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile & 5k Lemont 12-May
Starved Rock Marathon Ogelsby 12-May
Apple Blossom Run 5k/10k Bartlett 12-May
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k Chicago 13-May
Quad Cities Distance Classic Rock Island 13-May
NAMI Southwestern Illinois Mental Health 5k Sauget 13-May
Universal Sole Four Mile Classic Chicago 17-May
Ragner Relay Chicago Chicago 18-May
Chicagoland Spring Marathon & Half Marathon Schaumburg 20-May
Soldier Field 10 Mile Chicago 26-May
Salute, Inc. Run/Walk Arlington Heights 27-May
Ridge Run 10k Chicago 28-May
North Shore Classic Half Marathon Highland Park 3-Jun
Run Galesburg Run Galesburg 3-Jun
United Run for the Zoo 10k/5k Chicago 3-Jun
Mainly Marathons Heartland Fulton 6-Jun
Imerman Angels Brunch Run 5k Chicago 9-Jun
Race Against Hate Evanston 17-Jun
Father’s Day 10k/5k Cary 17-Jun
ABC 7 Gibbons 5k Run and 3k Walk Chicago 21-Jun
Proud to Run 10k and 5k Chicago 23-Jun
Frontier Days Stampede 10k/5k Arlington Heights 1-Jul
Elmhurst 4 on the 4th Elmhurst 4-Jul
Wilmette Fourth of July Fun Run and Walk Wilmette 4-Jul
Great Western Freedom 4 St. Charles 4-Jul
5k Run to End Homelessness Chicago 14-Jul
Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Darien 14-Jul
McHenry River Run 5k and 10k McHenry 14-Jul
Burgers and Beer 5k Chicago 16-Jul
Sundowner 5k Joliet 19-Jul
Hemingway 8k Oak Park 21-Jul
Amita Health Fit America Half Marathon, 10k, 5k Hoffman Estates 21-Jul
Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon Chicago 22-Jul
Freedom Run 5k Moline 2-Aug
Stan’s Donut 5K Chicago 11-Aug
Chicago 10k Chicago 12-Aug
Fort 2 Base Races Chicago 26-Aug
Half Madness Batavia 2-Sep
Brookfield Zoo Run Run Brookfield 9-Sep
Run Mag Mile Chicago 9-Sep
Alpine Races Half Marathon & 5K Lake Zurich 9-Sep
9/11 Heroes Run Chicago 10-Sep
Moonlight Marathon Oak Ridge Cemetery Springfield 15-Sep
Heritage Haul Half Marathon, 10k, 5k South Holland 15-Sep
Fox Valley Half Marathon Fox Valley 16-Sep
Chicago Half Marathon Chicago 23-Sep
Quad Cities Marathon and Half Marathon Moline 23-Sep
Belleville Main Street Marathon Belleville 29-Sep
Running 4 the Kids Joliet 30-Sep
Fall Color 5k Lisle 30-Sep
CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler Chicago Sep (TBD)
Women Rock Half Marathon, 10k, 5k Chicago Sep (TBD)
International Chicago 5k Chicago 6-Oct
Bank of America Chicago Marathon Chicago 7-Oct
Des Plaines River Trail Races Vernon Hills 13-Oct
Pumpkins in the Park 5K Chicago 20-Oct
Frank Lloyd Wright 10k/5k Oak Park 21-Oct
Naperville Half Marathon & 5k Naperville 21-Oct
Shawnee Marathon Harrisburg 27-Oct
Sycamore Pumpkin Run Sycamore 28-Oct
Dick Pond Cocoa Run Wheaton Oct (TBD)
Chicago Lakefront 50/50 Chicago Oct (TBD)
Shannon McNamara Memorial 5k Rolling Meadows Oct (TBD)
World’s Largest Corn Maze 5k Spring Grove Oct (TBD)
Hot Chocolate Chicago 15k/5k Chicago 4-Nov
Red Eye 5k Joliet 11-Nov
Edison Park Turkey Trot Chicago 22-Nov
Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot Elmhurst 22-Nov
Evanston Flying Turkey 5k Evanston 22-Nov
Naperville Turkey Trot 5k Naperville 22-Nov
North Shore Turkey Trot Highland Park 22-Nov
Grant Park Turkey Trot Chicago 24-Nov
Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon & 5k Schaumburg 24-Nov
Holiday Lights 5K Aurora Nov (TBD)
Hot Cider Hustle 8 Mile Run Wheaton Nov (TBD)
Reindeer Run Wheaton 1-Dec
Santa Hustle Chicago Chicago      Dec (TBD)


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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run many distance races, and is going for her first marathon at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism, and is working towards her Master in Arts in New Media and Marketing.


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