March is an awesome time to get back outdoors, given that temperatures are finally hovering above 20 degrees (so warm!). The fitness activities this month include a chance to run dressed as your favorite superhero (Wacky 5k), chug a post-workout green beer (Green Beer 5k), climb 180 flights of stairs (Fight for Air Climb), and so much more. Full roundup below.
Pulaski 10k | Sat 3/1 | Montrose Harbor | Timed Race
F^3 Events seems to have a fetish for cold weather, given they also organized the FREEZING Lake Half Marathon in January. I’m surprised there’s no Polar Plunge on their docket, although maybe it’s in the cards for next year… That being said, they are one of the better race organizers in Chicago (in my opinion).
The Pulaski 10k will follow a similar course to the Lake Half Marathon – beginning at Montrose Harbor and extending along the Sydney Marovitz Golf Course before looping back to the start. There will also be a Mile Dash for kids under 12.
Registration is $50 for the 10k, which includes a technical shirt and a finisher medal. Packet pickup is available until February 28th at the South Loop, Old Town, and Lincoln Square locations of Fleet Feet Sports. The 10k begins at 9am and Mile Dash at 10am.
Mardis Gras Chaser 5k | Sun 3/2 | Montrose Harbor | Timed Race
If you’re more of a “Sunday person”, but still want to experience the freezing cold of Montrose Harbor, then the Mardis Gras Chaser is a great option. It’s the first ever local race by Back on My Feet, a national organization that uses running “to create self-sufficiency in the lives of those experiencing homelessness”. Other good news: the race will be followed by a party at Fat Cat (on Broadway), featuring Goose Island and Bananas Foster french toast.
Online registration is closed, but participants can make a cash payment of $50 on the morning of the run, which begins at 9am.
Peanut Tillman 5k | Sat 3/8 | Soldier Field | Timed Race
This event is meant to honor Charles “Peanut” Tillman, an NFL star whose charity efforts have significantly benefited Chicago’s youth. The organizers call it a run/walk, although the course is USATF Certified and will be chip timed, so it’s a good option for all types.
Registration is $40, which includes a Nike Tech T-Shirt. Packets will be available for pickup at Universal Sole a few days prior to the event or at the United Club on the day of the event. The race begins at 9am on the Lakefront Path near Soldier Field.
Wacky 5k & 10k | Sun 3/9 | Peggy Notebaert Museum | Timed Race
The Wacky 5k &10k bills itself as “Chicago’s most bizarre race”, which is fairly accurate given it’s superhero theme. In other words, prepare to see Lincoln Park invaded by hundreds of Supermans, Batmans, Iron Mans, and more. Better yet, join them. After the race, you can gather with fellow nerds at the Nature Museum for a post-race party.
The cost of registration varies by date, but it’s about $40-50 for either distance. Packet pickup will be available at Sports Authority (on Clark) on March 7-8. Online registration closes March 6, but race-day registration is an option if you arrive 90 minutes before the 10am race. The event benefits Central Lakeview Merchants Association.
Green Beer 5k | Sat 3/15 | Soldier Field | Self-Timed Race
If you’d like to get a workout in before heading to your 12-hour open bar (and eventually to Portillo’s), the Green Beer 5k is perfect for you. The event, taking place at Soldier Field, is organized by Cerulean Sports Group – the same people behind the Chicago Beachathon and Hell Run.
Registration is $45-55 depending on when you sign up. Entry includes a finisher medal, shirt, Lucky Charms, and green beer at the post-race party. Additionally, awards will be given for the best costume, best group costume, and largest group. Packets are available for pickup the week prior to the event at Fleet Feet Sports in Old Town. You can also pay an extra $10 to pick it up on race day. The race begins at 9am.
St Paddy’s 5k & 8k | Sat 3/15 | Peggy Notebaert Museum | Timed Race
The St Paddy’s 5k & 10k is the “official” race of St. Patrick’s Day, having been around for 14 years. This event has everything you need, including a costume contest and after-party at John Barleycorn (on Lincoln). Both races begin at 9:30AM outside of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and loop around Diversey and Belmont Harbors.
Registration is $47-57, which includes an event t-shirt. Packet pickup will be held at Roadrunner Sports in Lincoln Park on March 13-14. The event benefits PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest no-kill humane organization.
Shamrock Shuffle 8k | Sun 3/30 | Grant Park | Timed Race
In its 35th year, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is easily one of the biggest fitness activities of the year. The race will include about 40,000 participants, all of whom get to run through the streets of downtown on a closed loop course. A post-race party will be held in Grant Park, featuring live music, food, and more.
Registration is $45, which includes a technical t-shirt. Packets will be available for pickup at the Health & Fitness Expo held at Navy Pier on March 28-29. The event usually sells out in advance, so you might want to sign up now.
Other Fitness Activities
Chicago Polar Plunge | Sun 3/2 | North Avenue Beach | Social
The Chicago Polar Plunge, while not necessarily a “fitness activity”, is a great event that benefits the Special Olympics. It starts at 10am on the shores of Lake Michigan, at which point waves of about 30 people will begin entering the water. We expect 2,000-3,000 participants, each of whom will receive a t-shirt and warm towel when exiting the water. The fundraising requirement to participate is $150.
Fight for Air Climb | Sun 3/9 | Presidential Towers | Stair Climb
The Fight for Air Climb is a national fundraiser for the American Lung Association. The event takes place in skyscrapers across several cities in the U.S., including one at the Presidential Towers in Chicago. Climbers can sign up as individuals or teams. Each has the option of climbing one, two, three, or all four of the Presidential Towers (each is 45 floors).
Registration is $25 per individual, in addition to a fundraising requirement of $100. Packet pickup will be held at the Presidential Towers on March 7-8. Due to limited space, the start times will be staggered throughout the morning. The first wave begins at 8am.