Frequently Asked Questions

When and where is packet pick-up?

Packet pick-up will be provided at locations throughout the city and suburbs. A packet mailing option will be available during registration. Locations in 2020 included Fleet Feet, Peak Running, Running for Kicks, and Xtra Mile.

Can my packet be mailed?

Yes, you may select packet mailing for a fee during registration. To add packet mailing later, login to your participant account and add option.

What training level is needed to participate?

CARA has a proven record of serving beginning runners, and long-time runners alike. Before starting our Novice Plan, we recommend that you can complete 3-4 runs per week, including at least one run of 6 miles at a pace of at least 13 minutes per mile. A 6-week pre-season training guide will be provided to assist in your preparations for the beginning of the training program.

What is the program's weather policy?

We will run/walk rain or shine. However, if there is lightning or other hazardous weather we will cancel or postpone. Our full weather policy and weather alerts are HERE.

Can I cancel my registration?

Participants may choose to voluntarily exit the program by the date two weeks prior to the start date of the program (May 23, 2021). Those who exit may receive a full credit of fees paid towards any single future CARA program or event of any kind of equal or lesser value. Credit valid through the end of the following calendar year. To exit the program, e-mail No refunds will be issued for any reason, including injury, illness, change in availability, or changes to target race.

The program will continue regardless of changes to target race. Should their be changes to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon that affect mass participation, the program will continue, and CARA make adjustments to support program participants end of season goals.

Can I enter the program after the start date?

Yes, participants are welcomed to enter the program late. The deadline for registration is 4 weeks prior to the program's end date. Fees are not prorated for late entry.

Is there a CARA member discount?

Yes, a 15% member discount is applicable to CARA Supporter Level members (Individual, Family or Student packages) with an active membership for the program year. Registrations for this program without a member discount include Supporter Level membership. Please allow up to 14 days for activation of memberships received during program regisrtation. We reccomend joining or renewing prior to program registration to allow for immediate member benefits and discounts.

Learn more about CARA Supporter Level member benefits and join/renew HERE.

How old do I need to be to participate?

Runners must be 18 years or older to participate in group training.

May I run with a pet at training runs?

No, participants may not run with pets at training runs.

May I run with a stroller at training runs?

No, participants may not run with strollers at training runs?

Are there discounts for charity runners?

Yes. Members of Team CARA (CARA's charity team) receive free training through CARA when fundraising for the target race or other pre-approved race. CARA's charity team leader will provide a special discount code to team members. Learn more HERE. CARA partners with nearly 50 different local and national charities. Members of any charity team should contact their charity's team leader to see if their charity has partnered with CARA to receive free or discounted training program fees and if so, to receive instruction to register for free or discounted training rates. Team's not currently partnered with CARA may reach out to As part of our mission, CARA provides over $65,000 in subsidized training for charity team runners each year. A special discount code is needed for charity team discounts.

Is there an past-participant discount?

Yes. A $35 program returner discount is for past participants of the previous three seasons (2018, 2019, and 2020). E-mail to request your returners discount code beginning March 1.

Can I participate at multiple locations and with multiple pace groups?

Yes, during registration participants are asked to select a training location and training pace group. However, participants may participate at and or visit any site and with any pace group. No notification to CARA is needed to change locations or pace groups.