September is just around the corner, and with it comes a staggering number of local athletic events. It's not hard to see why: September and October usually offer great weather for outdoor activities here in the Midwest. The season is punctuated by some of Chicago's biggest events: The Chicago Triathlon, the Chicago Half Marathon (which also offers a 5k race), and then the biggest of them all, the world-class Chicago Marathon in October.
North Shore Century, Blood Sweat and Tears rides
But in addition to the big guns, there are lots of mid- and small-sized events. Those include two bike races, the North Shore Century and the Blood Sweat and Tears ride. The North Shore Century takes place on September 23 in Evanston, while the BST ride on September 30 is based in Highland Park. Both offer a variety of distance options, from kid-friendly 5-mile family rides up to 100-mile century rides. You can even decide the day of the event how far you feel like riding, which is good for people like me who hate to commit in advance.
One of the most notable local events is , which this year features . If you don't know about Mark, he is a Winnetka resident and avid athlete who was critically injured in a bike accident several years ago. He is now a quadriplegic, but that didn't stop him from to raise money for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He biked 3,200 miles from California to Florida, and now he's taking the lead for the second annual bike tour around Winnetka. The event is sponsored by the and takes place on Saturday, Sept. 22. Bike Winnetka is a 7.9 mile leisurely bike around town, and for younger kids there is also a two mile route available. Note that there is no race day registration, so be sure to sign up in advance.
Alpine Runners Half Marathon
As for running events, there are plenty of races of all distances throughout the next couple of months. While Chicago offers some of the larger races, there are also plenty of smaller events as well, such as the Alpine Runners Half Marathon and 5k in Crystal Lake on Sunday, September 23. I did this race last year and enjoyed it – a scenic course and a low key event.
Fort to Base
For a race with a slightly higher energy level and a military flair, check out Fort to Base, also on September 23. The 10 nautical mile (11.5 mile) course runs from Fort Sheridan up to the Great Lakes Naval Station and attracts a lot of military personnel. Participants get the rare chance to run around the grounds of the Naval Station. A shorter 3 nautical mile (3.45 mile) option is offered as well.
For those who aren't morning people, there are some upcoming evening races, including the Glasa Twilight 5k Run/Walk/Roll in Lake Forest. The 5k event kicks off at 5:15 pm on September 8.
For even more adventure, the UrbanAthlon takes over Chicago on October 13, featuring a run with a complex urban obstacle course. Participants will have to do things like climb over buses and cabs, go up and down the stairs at Soldier Field, and jump over police barricades.
Burgers and Beer 5K
Of course, if that sounds like too much work, you may be the kind of runner who just wants to do a run and have a post race beer. Fortunately, there are races that offer just that, such as the F3 Burgers and Beer 5k, coming up this Monday, August 20 and the Oktoberfest 5k run/walk on Thursday September 20.
Girl Scouts Cookie Classic 5K
And finally, I have to note an event that might very well be the most enticing one of the season: The Girl Scouts Cookie Classic 5k on September 8th, which promises a box of Girl Scout Cookies to every particiapnt. Yes, that's right. A fun run, followed by some Thin Mints or S'mores. Now, what could be better than that?