Founded in 2007, the Rockford Half Marathon & 10K challenges runners to take on one of two races: a 13.1-mile half marathon or a 10K. Runners of all skill levels from over 20 different states pace themselves along a stunning waterfront race course that traces the path of downtown Rockford's Rock River. Electronic chips are provided to all runners for the most accurate race timing and to let everyone channel the spirit of the bionic man. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three male and female finishers.
Cosmic Run provides a multisensory experience that pushes the limits of participants' imaginations with a mind-bending journey through a setting flush with dance music and fluorescent pops of color. As you run, witness futuristic, animated lighting effects before dancing the night away as world-famous DJs spin. During the festivities, you become a part of the cosmic canvas as glowing lights fill the space and the crowd takes on their otherworldly bright hues.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Celebrities and residents run a 5K or kids' dash in an effort to end homelessness, poverty, and violence. Run Home Chicago, hosted by The Primo Center for Women and Children, raises awareness and funds for homeless services by sending runners sprinting down the same city streets that many call home. While testing their endurance and speed, runners also champion the cause of groups across the city that provide medical, emotional support, and shelter upkeep services to the city’s homeless population—almost 40,000 people, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In addition to the main events, race day activities include a kid's dash and guest speakers regaling listeners with inspirational speeches.
Spotlighted by local and national press including TimeOut Chicago, the Wall Street Journal, and Michigan Avenue Magazine, Randolph Street Market's collection of over 250 merchants shows off antique furnishings and vintage wearables from all over the world. Vintage dealers from across the country—including local favorites D. Brett Benson and Man in the Moon—stuff market stalls with men's and women's clothing, estate jewelry, and even vintage fashion magazines. Treasure hunters can investigate indoor booths to fill their closets with items from designers such as Hermes, Pucci, and Dior. In addition to apparel, Randolph Street Market also features hospitality areas brimming with gourmet chocolates, as well as cuisine and drinks from local eateries.
Zooma Women's Race Series hosts races all over the country. In Napa Valley, for example, the half-marathon and 10K wind through lush wine country. The Cape Cod races take place within sight of the ocean and seaside resorts. Chicago runners enjoy views of Lake Michigan and its fish that famously taste like Chicago-style hot dogs. Besides their distances, the events have two other things in common: they're just for women, and they're not just races. Instead, the race series tends to resemble weekend fitness getaways, where mocktail parties, recovery yoga, and other entertainment complement the long runs.
When founder and executive director Brae Blackley was starting out, however, her mission didn't involve fancy drinks or shopping outings. Working at a makeshift coffee-shop desk, her goals were simple: to empower women to lead healthy, active lifestyles and to create a community of female runners. But when Blackley paired her first race in Annapolis with social activities, it drew more than 1,500 participants—and she knew that she was onto something. Her enterprise has grown from there into today's national women's race series.