Fitness Events in January

This is our monthly roundup of the best races and other fitness activities in Chicago. The January 2014 list includes the Commitment Day 5k, NYD 5k, Polar Dash, F^3 Lake Half Marathon, the Aon Step Up for Kids, and several social rides.

If you’d like us to consider your event in future lists, please email

Chicago Races January

Running Events

Commitment Day 5k | Jan 1 | Grant Park | Timed Race | $40-45
Commitment Day is a nationwide event organized by Lifetime Fitness to benefit the American Heart Association. The race will begin in Grant Park at 9:00AM. The USATF-certified course is a 3.1 mile loop that stretches north along the lakefront.

Registration is $40 until December 27th or $45 until race day. Packet pickup will be held at Fleet Feet Sports in Old Town on December 31st. Race day registration and packet pickup will be available starting at 7:00AM near the starting line.

NYD 5k Run/Walk | Jan 1 | Lincoln Park | Timed Race | $30-40
The 29th Annual New Year’s Day 5k Run/Walk encompasses three races that benefit the Lake View Citizens’ Council. Runners may choose between a 5k walk, 5k fun run, or a 5k chip-timed race. Each event starts at 11:00 am on January 1st. The course begins in Lincoln Park and winds north along the lakefront bike path.

Registration is $30 for each event or $35-40 if you wait until race day. Packets will be available for pickup at two locations on December 27-28 or starting at 9:30AM on race day. Giveaways include a long-sleeve technical shirt. A post-race party will be held at O’Brien’s Restaurant in Old Town.

Polar Dash | Jan 11 | Grant Park | Timed Race | $53-70
The Polar Dash is an inaugural event that includes a 14 mile, 10k, and 5k race. The 14 mile and 10k runs will be chip-timed and on a USATF-certified course starting at 8:00AM in Grant Park. The Polar Dash benefits the Team Ortho Foundation, which supports research and advancements in orthopedic technology.

The entry fee is $53-70, depending on the event. Participants will receive a fleece, finishers’ medal, and some post-race hot chocolate. Packets can be picked up on January 10th at the Congress Hotel or you can prearrange a race day pickup for an extra fee.

F^3 Lake Half Marathon | Jan 25 | Montrose Harbor | Timed Race | $70
The F^3 Half Marathon will begin at 10:00AM on January 25th. The USATF-certified begins and ends in Montrose Harbor. Each participant will be timed using B-chip technology. A prize purse of $2,000 will be split among the top three male and female finishers.

The registration cost is $70, which includes a 1/4 zip long-sleeve shirt and some sponsor goodies (Clif Bars, etc.). Packets are available for pickup at various locations from January 17th to the 24th. Race day registration and pickup are not available.

Cycling Events

New Year’s Eve Ride | Dec 31 | River North | Social Ride | Free
The NYE ride is a small, informal “party on wheels” organized by a few local cycling enthusiasts. The event will begin at 9:30PM at Pioneer Court (near the WGN-AM radio station). The ride will conclude around 12:30AM, at which point we’re guessing the group will head to a local bar.

New Year’s Day “Weather Be Damned” Ride | Jan 1 | West Town | Social Ride | Free
The “Weather Be Damned” ride is an annual tradition organized by the Chicago Cycling Club. The ride will begin at 10:00AM in West Town (near the Eckhart Field House) and continue for 10-12 miles around the city. The group will likely take a brunch break, so bring some cash. RSVPs are always appreciated.

Three Floyds or Flossmoor Station Ride | Jan 11 | Loop | Social Ride | Free
This annual ride (started in 2006) will depart from Daley Plaza at 9:00AM on January 11th. Participants have the option of ending up at Three Floyds Brewery or Flossmoor Station (or both!). The round trip distance is about 60 miles (at a 12-16 mph pace). However, the group may decide to take the Metra for a portion of it.

Also check out Critical Mass and Kidical Mass for other (free) social rides.

Other Events

Aon Step Up for Kids | Jan 26 | Loop | Stair Climb | $45 entry + $80 fundraising minimum
The Step Up is an annual stair climb that benefits Lurie Children’s Hospital. The event features an 80-story climb up the Aon center. The first wave will start at 8:00AM. A half-climb option is also available.

Registration is $45 for adults and free for children, although an $80 fundraising minimum is required in both cases. Each participant will receive a t-shirt and post-race goodies (food, live music, etc.). Packets are available for pickup at Fleet Feet Sports on January 24-25. You may also pick up on race day starting at 6:30AM.

Upcoming in February

Given that most races require advanced registration, we wanted to give you a heads up about what’s coming in February. We’ll include a more detailed write-up in a few weeks.

More Awesome Stuff

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Delicious
  • E-Mail

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.