7 Virtual Races You Can Run in Chicago This Summer

In a normal year, the start of warm weather means the start of marathon season. But hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of people packed together on the streets, sweating and breathing on each other is an epidemiological nightmare. So, it’s no surprise that race season in its most familiar form has been cancelled this year. But weep not, runners, as there are plenty of virtual races you can still compete in. Here are just a few races that give back, worthy of dusting off your sneakers for.

The Great Toilet Paper Chase of 2020

Toliet Paper Chase Race Chicago

Even though this race has a rather tongue-in-cheek name, its intent is serious: 30 percent of registration fees will be donated to Water Mission, an organization that builds safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in developing countries and disaster areas. With the spread of COVID-19, proper hand washing facilities and hygiene are more important than ever. So whether you want to run a mile, a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, or a full marathon, the Great Toilet Paper Chase could be the race for you.

Super Run Virtual 5k

Help support the Superfly Foundation with this fun 5K run. What started with providing superhero capes to children in hospitals has morphed into an organization that is taking on the affordable housing crisis. Every race participant gets an authentic event superhero cape and collectable runner’s bib and the finishers get a super finishers medal.

The Great Run Across Illinois

The Great Race Across Illinois

Grab your family members (or whoever you’ve been quarantining with), and get ready to run one heck of a virtual relay. You and your team will run the distance across Illinois—either 210 miles from east to west or 390 miles from north to south. You’ll get some team swag mailed to you, plus the accomplishment of a job well done. And don’t worry— you have 30 days to complete the race. 

Strike Out ALS 5K and 1 Mile Run 

Help raise money to defeat ALS with this annual 5K and 1 mile run, walk, and roll. Your donations still count, even if the race is virtual! Your registration fee includes a shirt and running bib mailed to each participant. Make sure to submit your race times by Thursday, July 16 at 12pm (CST) to be considered for an award, and join the Facebook Live on July 16th at 7pm for a fun race event! 

2020 DASHing Together Virtually

Chicago Virtual Dash

Help raise money to research pancreatic cancer with this year’s DASHing Together race on July 18th. Founded by the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, there’s no distance goal for the DASH—just an opportunity to fundraise for a needy cause and an opportunity to get friends and family together (virtually or at a safe distance, of course).

Walk and Roll Chicago

The longest-running cancer fundraiser in Illinois is back again this summer! Join the Walk and Roll in its 49th year to run or walk 5K, skate 10K or bike 15K to raise funds for The American Cancer Society. The race will kick off with a fun live-streamed main event that will include music, personal stories, kids entertainment, survivor activities, a live band, an online auction and so much more. Plus, there will be an interactive app to access during and after your walk, run, bike or skate!

Stan’s Donut Virtual Race

Stan's Virtual Race Chicago

Everyone’s favorite donut (this is not up for debate, don’t argue) is holding a virtual race with the rest of them this year —from a kid’s dash to a full marathon option. Stan’s will ship you a shirt, medal, donut certificate and any other race goodies right to you. Then you can run or walk your chosen distance, anywhere you’d like. If you finish at a Stan’s Donuts location, you can even get a free donut (this seems advisable).


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Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry