by Megan Horst-Hatch

If you’re looking for a way to add some fun to your next race, then keep reading. The Chicago area boasts an assortment of races that will take you through a zoo, Soldier Field, and so many other landmarks. There’s even a fun run on the schedule, so you can take a more relaxed approach and have fun with your friends and fellow runners. The following races, which are held through the end of spring, offer a great way to have some fun on a run. Just remember to register in advance.

(Photo Credit: The Color Run's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: The Color Run’s Facebook)

The Color Run
Grant Park
235 S. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60603
thecolorrun.com
June 5 , 8:00 A.M.

Shake up your race schedule this summer and relax with friends when you participate in The Color Run, held June 5 at Grant Park in Chicago. The 5K will take runners through parts of Chicago’s Loop neighborhood and includes plenty of color. As noted on the event’s website, runners are “doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer,” making for a fun and colorful experience. And in case you were wondering, runners are encouraged to wear white so that the colors stand out in a big way. This 5K is an untimed event and includes plenty of music and other festive activities. The Color Run has partnered with Back on My Feet Chicago for this year’s run.

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere (Credit: active.com)

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (Credit: active.com)

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere
North Riverside Village Commons
2401 S. Des Plaines Ave.
North Riverside, IL 60546
www.active.com
May 30, 8:50 A.M.

Get transported (mentally, anyway) to a tropical location when you take part in the 5K It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere. Held May 30 in the suburb of North Riverside, the run/walk includes a salute to veterans. The race course even includes live bands so you can have a bit of a party while you run. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere also includes a post-race party for runners to cut loose. Keep in mind that there won’t be any race-day registration, and that dogs, bikes, scooters, skates/blades and strollers are not permitted.

North Shore Classic
Downtown Highland Park
Highland Park, IL 60035
www.northshoreclassic.com
June 5, 7:00 A.M.

Make your way through the scenic suburb of Highland Park when you take part in the North Shore Classic. The half-marathon kicks off June 5 in downtown Highland Park and covers quite a bit of ground. You won’t need to sit on the sidelines if you’re not quite ready to run a half-marathon, as the North Shore Classic will also have a 5K. The race is also a way for runners to raise money, as participants will help support Misericordia Heart of Mercy. Details regarding parking can be found on the event’s website.

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Soldier Field 10 Mile
Soldier Field
1600 Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
soldierfield10.com
May 28, 7:00 A.M.

This Memorial Day weekend, lace up your running shoes and run with Chicago’s iconic skyline in view when you participate in the Soldier Field 10 Mile. Held May 28, the event includes running on a (vehicle-free) Lake Shore Drive, as well as plenty of views and finishing at the 50-yard line. As noted on the event’s website, finishers will be presented with medals by active servicemen and servicewomen. How’s that for a finish? The race also includes pacers to help you stay on track and meet your goal for the 10-miler. There’s even a post-race tailgate party for runners who are 21 and up. If you’re planning to drive, then check out the race’s website regarding details on parking and drop-off and pick-up locations.

United Run For The Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000
www.lpzoo.org
June 5, 7:45 A.M.

Take a walk — or more like a run — on the wild side and show your support of Lincoln Park Zoo with United Run for the Zoo. There are two races for runners, with a 5K run/walk and a 10K run on the schedule. The event, which is held June 5, will take runners and walkers along the Lakefront Trail and in and around the zoo for a unique experience. Got kids? The race includes a Safari Stampede that’s just for children ages eight and under. The race also benefits the zoo, so you can squeeze in a race while also providing support to a notable Chicago institution.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.