This summer, Chicago will be a hotspot for races and events specifically geared towards women. Many of them support female-oriented charities, and all of them are fun and worthwhile. Check out this list of all the events coming to the Windy City this summer:
Espirit de She – Triathlon in Naperville, June 8; 5K and 10K race July 24 in Chicago
The Chicago area hosts two of the 13 races in this national athletic event series for women that started last year. The first is a sprint-distance triathlon in west suburban Naperville (regular registration is sold out, but you can still gain entry through local charity partners); the second is a 5K/10K race in the city’s leafy Lincoln Park neighborhood. The events offer participants the chance to join training programs and hook up with coaches and mentors in an effort to encourage all abilities to embrace a healthy lifestyle. The series raises money for nonprofit running program Girls on the Run International. Both events have post-race parties with tapas, champagne and local vendor markets, and participants receive Moxie cycling jerseys or Athleta running tanks.
Dirty Girl Mud Run –June 28
Everyone seems to love a mud run these days. This fun-run series (the races are not timed) comes to the Lake County Fairgrounds in suburban Grayslake with roughly a dozen obstacles scattered through a 5K course – think rope ladders, bungee cord mazes, climbing walls and a few mud pits. Finishers get a charm necklace and a beer; proceeds benefit Bright Pink , a charity that encourages women to recognize the signs of breast and ovarian cancer.
Shape Diva Dash -- August 2
If you're looking for obstacles minus the dirt, this 5K race includes stops to challenge your strength, agility, speed, and balance – fireman poles, monkey bars, tug-of-war contests, and so on. Costumes are encouraged and the timing (as well as tackling the obstacles) is optional.
Zooma half marathon and 10K – August 2
The Midwest race in this national series of “boutique” running events for women covering a picturesque--and pleasantly flat— out-and-back course from Burnham Park along the lakefront trail. Zooma races are designed to give women a chance to get away for “fit girl weekends” (other locations include Cape Cod, Napa and Amelia Island, FL) with a full schedule of pre- and post-race events including massages and parties. Partner hotels are chosen with a fun factor in mind: In Chicago, it’s the hip Radisson Blu. Swag includes a medal with detachable necklace for half-marathon finishers, and a medal for 10K finishers.
Venus de Miles – August 9
A road ride for bikers of any skill level, Venus de Miles offers 13- 28- and 64-mile course options along a scenic route though Chicago’s northern suburbs. Post-ride festivities include mini-facials and mani-pedis, Trek bike road tests, and drinks from local purveyors North Shore Distillery and Goose Island Brewery and lunch. The ride is one of just two—the other is in Colorado—to benefit Greenhouse Scholars, a nonprofit that provides college scholarships and other resource for high-achieving students with limited means.
Magnificent Mile Women’s Half-Marathon and 5K – August 31
This local race includes 1.5 miles along Chicago’s most famous shopping district and a pre-race Fitness Meets Fashion Market. Registrants can join 12-week training programs at area Fleet Feet stores.
Women Rock 5K, 10K and Half-Marathon – September 27
It’s all about the perks at these races, and they’re plentiful: Runners get a running jacket, sterling silver and gemstone pendant necklace, and a commemorative champagne glass to use at the post-race “bubbly bar.”