Spring of 2008 was a busy time for Chicago Run. After launching the Chicago Runners program for students grades K-5 in March, Chicago Run's first Fun Run took place in May to bring together 1,200 students, family members, teachers, and volunteers for a morning celebration of community and fitness. Nike donated 1,200 shoes at this event which launched a partnership ever since.
Since 2009, Chicago Run has organized the Mile 20 Aid Station at the Chicago Marathon, with hundreds of volunteers that hand out water and other refreshments to over 40,000 runners as they conquer "the wall."
Running Mates is an after school program designed to prepare middle school students to run in a local race. Participants learn about teamwork, commitment, and perseverance through a curriculum that incorporates running workouts, goal setting, nutrition lessons, and team-building activities. Running Mates works to break down racial and cultural stereotypes by bringing students from different schools together.
Little Steps, Big Stars is Chicago Run's premier fundraiser. Each year business leaders, community supporters, and philanthropists come together for a cocktail reception to celebrate and support Chicago Run programs.
Due to an overwhelming demand from Chicago Run schools for more running events, Chicago Run added a Fall Fun Run to it's list of community events. As of Fall 2009, the bi-annual Fun Runs were moved to Washington Park. These bi-annual Fun Runs bring together thousands of students, family members, teachers, and volunteers for a morning celebrating community and fitness.
48 runners raised over $53,000 to support Chicago Run youth. Every year since, a growing group of generous runners have made up Team Chicago Run, training all summer for the Chicago Marathon while raising money and awareness for Chicago Run programs.
Chicago Run received $90k from Bank of America and was featured in all promotional materials for the "Let's Run Together" campaign, including the billboard on the Bank of America building.
Students in the Chicago Runners program log their miles into Chicago Run's database (www.mychicagorun.org) and earn incentives when they reach certain milestones. As they progress along a virtual marathon route, students learn nutrition facts and uncover Chicago landmarks to inspire city pride. The 2012-2013 school year was the first time that the students collectively reached over 500,000 miles!
During the 2014-15 school year, Chicago Run partnered with Nike in an effort to educate and enroll its Chicago Public School partners in the Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS) campaign. Launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, LMAS is a national initiative to promote 60 minutes of physical activity per day in every school in the nation. With Chicago Run’s help, 83% of partner schools were enrolled in LMAS by the end of the school year. Of the 24 schools in the state of Illinois that received the LMAS National Award in 2015, 7 of those were Chicago Run partner schools!
For the first 7 years, Midtown Athletic Club housed Chicago Run and its staff. In 2015, US Bank generously donated 3,000 square foot space to Chicago Run, rent free for 10 years. The additional space opened up many possibilities for Chicago Run including expanding the number of staff, hosting students and coaches for events and trainings, and collaborating with other health and wellness nonprofits.
L.A.C.E. (Leadership, Action, Community, Endurance) Up! is a program designed for Chicago Run program alumni who were previously involved in Running Mates and/or Chicago Runners and are now in high school. Participants have the opportunity to build leadership, mentoring, coaching, and career-readiness skills that will aid in their success through high school and beyond.
The Little Strides program is designed to instill the importance of daily physical activity in early childhood classrooms. The Little Strides curriculum uses games and activities to excite young children to exercise. These activities also focus on developing vital gross motor skills that students need upon entering elementary school.
Chicago Run programming at Erie Neighborhood House is similar to the Little Strides program, geared towards their early childhood education classrooms. Chicago Run staff holds trainings for Erie House employees who can then implement the program internally.
Christian started in Chicago Run programs when he was in 4th grade and has been involved with the organization throughout the past 10 years. He is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan. He was so inspired by his experience with Chicago Run, he decided to train for the Chicago Marathon while raising funds to give back to the programs that gave him so much. Nike was inspired by Christian's story and chose to feature him in their 2017 Chicago Marathon campaign.
Thank you for 10 wonderful years of helping us promote health and wellness to Chicago children. Our goal is to contunue to expand our program to enhance the health and well-being of every child in Chicago! See what we have in store for the next 10 years!
Chicago Run's 10th Anniversary Gala will be held on Friday May 11, 2018 at Galleria Marchetti. This year's event will be a celebration of the past 10 years and our vision for the road ahead.
As part of Chicago Run 2.0, Chicago Run will be expanding its programming to serve community based organizations that serve immigrant and refugee populations and at-risk youth, including the Juvenile Detention Center.
With your support, Chicago Run will serve 30,000 children and youth in the Chicagoland area!