On your marks, get set, go! For all of you looking to compete in 2023, there are many different races throughout St. Charles where you can test your running, biking, and paddling abilities. Here are some upcoming races around town where you can get the chance to compete and have some fun, and some fantastic local businesses that can help get you ready to set a new PR.
Great Western Half-Marathon & 10K - May 7th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of the Fox River Trail Runners
Join the Fox River Trail Runners in celebrating the 25th annual Great Western Half-Marathon & 10k! These races begin and end at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, with the route taking you down the beautiful Great Western Trail. All registered runners will receive a commemorative medal, and there will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards issued to a variety of different age groups. But that's not all - a portion of the registration fees will also go to supporting charity partners including the Tri City Family Services, Suicide Prevention Services, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Kane South, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties. Register now to ensure you receive a t-shirt by signing up before April 16th!
Walk MS: St. Charles - May 7th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Walk MS
On May 7th, take part in a walk that goes towards helping end MS forever - Walk MS: St. Charles. Starting at Pottawatomie Park at 10am, you can choose to walk either a 1 mile or a 3 mile accessible route, either on your own or with a team. This is a great opportunity to get involved and raise money for a great cause, and they provide plenty of resources to ensure that you can become a fundraising powerhouse! If you raise at least $100, you'll receive an exclusive t-shirt to show off all your hard work. Don't forget to bring your pup, too! This walk is dog-friendly, but they must be leashed.
Hickory Knolls Trail Run & Relay - May 14th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Dick Pond Athletics
Taking place at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, this event offers three different races - an individual 5k and 10k race, along with a fun relay, too, that supports the St. Charles Park District. The course follows a 3-mile loop on grass and dirt trails, with two loops for the 10k. Families can compete in the parent/child relay, where a parent and child team up and race together, and their total time is calculated by combining the finish times. Don't miss the chance to win awards for top finishers in all the races, and receive a printed mason jar upon completion of the course.
Help & Hope 5k - May 20th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Second Act/Scene Two
Join Second Act/Scene Two, for the Help & Hope 5k Run/Walk. This race is taking place on May 20th starting at 8am at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, and is a great chance to get outdoors, and participate in a race for a fantastic cause. This race benefits Second Act/Scene Two - a non-profit organization who provides our community with high quality professional mental health counseling and social work services at reduced cost to those in need. All participants in the race will receive a Help & Hope 5k Race Hat, too!
Mid-American Kayak & Canoe Race - June 3rd 2023
Photos Courtesy of the Fox Valley Park District
Experience the thrill of water competition with this community tradition that dates back to the 1960's. The Mid-American Kayak & Canoe Race caters to paddlers of all skill levels, with over 300 racers participating in 2022. The race offers two distances to chose from, a 10 mile race starting in St. Charles and a 6 mile race beginning in Batavia and ending in Aurora, traveling down the Fox River. There will be a post-race celebration at McCullough Park near the Prisco Community Center in Aurora, complete with an awards ceremony and lunch.
11th Annual Everybody Rides Bike Ride - June 11th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Project Mobility
Head over to James O. Breen Community Park and take part in this incredible cycling event for a great cause! There are three different rides to choose from, including a 10 mile family trail ride, a 29 mile ride, a 46 mile ride, a 62 mile ride, and a virtual ride. This event is a fundraiser for Project Mobility, which provides adaptive cycling opportunities to individuals with disabilities, including children, adults, and service members. Don't leave after the race because participants will have access to their beer garden (21+), live entertainment, unlimited access to the food tent, and much more!
Freedom 4 Run - July 4th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Lazarus House
What better way to start your Fourth of July celebrations than by participating in the Freedom 4 Run on the Great Western Trail? The event starts at the picturesque LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and offers two races: a competitive 4 mile run and a scenic 2 mile walk. Participants of the 4 mile run have the chance to win awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in various age groups, and all registered runners/walkers will receive a t-shirt. Plus, all proceeds from the race go towards supporting Lazarus House, a non-profit organization that helps men, women, and children who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness.
Tour De Cure: Chicagoland - August 12th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Tour De Cure
The Tour De Cure is the only cycling event that supports all individuals living with diabetes, and this year, it's coming to St. Charles. This event has been taking place for over 30 years, and is organized by the American Diabetes Association. Starting at Pottawatomie Park, there are 5 race options that participants can chose from - 5 miles, 23 miles, 30 miles, 63 miles, and virtually. To participate, individuals must raise $250, and they can utilize the personal fundraising toolkit provided by the organizers. There are recognition gifts available based on the amount raised, making this a great opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause.
Fox Valley Marathon - September 17th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Fox Valley Marathon
The marathon is a significant milestone for runners. It's a challenging feat to complete the 26.2 mile race, being the ultimate test of endurance. If you've been training for this, make sure to circle the Fox Valley Marathon on your calendar - a Boston Marathon Qualifier. Starting and finishing in St. Charles, the route takes you along the Fox River, down to North Aurora and back up. Finishers will receive medals with top spots awarded in different age groups. For those looking for shorter distances or can't make it on race day, there is also a 5k, half-marathon, and virtual races available to compete in.
Hops for Hope 5K & Brewfest - October 14th, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Project Mobility
Who said running and beer don't go together? At Hops for Hope 5k & Brewfest - a beer 5k that starts at Mt. St. Mary Park and St. Charles' Brewfest, they pair together perfectly, and for a good cause, too! This isn't just any 5k - this is a 5k where there's six beer stops along the way. Once you've finished, you'll get 18 samples of beer and get to listen to some live music after at the Brewfest. Craft Urban will be there serving up some delicious food, and there will be raffles including a Adaptive Bike Giveaway presentation there, as well. This event is hosted by and benefits Project Mobility - a non-profit whose who provides the services, resources, and equipment needed to promote better health, independence, and the freedom of mobility though adaptive cycling.
Pollyanna Charity Rides
Photos Courtesy of Pollyanna Brewing Co.
Once the warm weather hits, Pollyanna Brewing and Sammy's Bikes team up for a charity bike ride every Wednesday night. The first ride is scheduled for April 12th and offers an opportunity to support a local charity while enjoying a scenic ride. The distance will vary between 8 to 10 miles, and the charity will change on a monthly basis. After the ride, refresh yourself with a delicious beer from Pollyanna Brewing with a $15 donation. Don't miss out - follow Sammy's Bikes and Pollyanna Brewing for updates on upcoming rides!
Businesses to Help You Reach the Finish Line
Photos Courtesy of The Bike Rack
If you need a new bike for one of these upcoming races, a great bet is to stop by The Bike Rack. Not only do they have a large selection of high-quality bikes - only carrying the very best products they can stand behind, but their professional staff can help you with your search, and will offer any cycling advice that you may need. You can feel confident with your purchase, as they can help you properly fit your bike based on your body and riding style to make sure you experience comfort and safety on your upcoming rides.
Photos Courtesy of Dick Pond Athletics
Ask any runner around and they'll probably tell you that Dick Pond Athletics is one of the best places to go for all things running, being that it is the oldest running shoe store in America. Their experienced staff will work with you in order to make sure that you have the perfect shoe for your foot shape, that in turn will ensure that you stay injury free while training and competing, for the big race. Need some motivation to train? They also offer weekly fun runs throughout the week where you can train with others around you to help keep you motivated.
Photos Courtesy of Sammy's Bikes
Sammy's Bikes serves all types of riders - whether you are beginner, veteran, or somewhere in between. If you're looking to purchase a bike to start training for one of the upcoming bike races, need a repair, or looking for a riding accessory, this shop can help with it all. Once you've picked out your new two-wheeler, you'll already be conveniently located by the Fox River Trail to head for a scenic ride by the water.
Photos Courtesy of Core Nutrition
It's no secret that if you want to perform well, you have to eat well. Core Nutrition can positively contribute to your training for all of these races, by providing you nutrients you need and in a delicious way. They offer nutritious shakes, teas, and more so that you refuel better, and can keep your body in tip top shape.
It's important to make sure that you start the day off right by having a hearty breakfast - especially if you are getting prepared for one of the above races. Click here to find some great spots in St. Charles where you can fuel up in the morning to ensure you have a successful day of training.