6 Chicago-Area Races to Run in January

Despite the winter cold that's arrived to welcome 2015, the New Year is a great time to discover new running inspiration. Outline some running goals for the year, put on your warmest gear and keep on trekking. The Chicago area has several great races and challenges to keep you training throughout chilly January.

January 1

New Year's Day 5K -- There's no better way to begin the New Year than by running a 5K on day one. In the 30th annual New Year's Day 5K, participants can choose from a timed 5K, a 5K fun run or a 5K walk. In order to accommodate late-night New Year's Eve plans, the race doesn't begin until 11 a.m. The course runs through Lincoln Park and begins at Stockton Drive and LaSalle. A portion of the proceeds will go to the non-profit Lake View Citizens Council, and the registration cost is $35 on race day.

January 4

Lifetime Indoor Triathlon -- For those who need the extra training for triathlons, or for those who simply don't want to run outside, Lifetime has organized eight indoor triathlon events in the Chicago area in January. Participants will spend 10 minutes swimming, 30 minutes biking and 20 minutes running on a treadmill. Register for a triathlon in Algonquin, Bloomingdale, Burr Ridge, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Vernon Hills or Warrenville. The Old Orchard triathlon is already sold out.

January 10

Chicago Polar Dash -- Run a 15-mile, 10K, 5K or 1,500-meter race in the Polar Dash, or run three of those races and complete the "Yeti Challenge." The Polar Dash is a race for serious winter runners, and organizers are warning participants to dress warmly and be prepared for any kind of winter weather. The different races are scattered to accommodate the Yeti Challengers. The 1,500-meter race starts at 8:45 a.m., the 15-miler at 9 a.m., the 10K at 9:45 a.m. and the 5K at 11:45 a.m. All runners will receive penguin hats and hot chocolate at the finish.

January 24

F^3 Lake Half Marathon -- REM-Fit is presenting a wintertime half marathon at Soldier Field for those training for big spring races. All runners will receive a beanie hat and gloves to keep them warm as well as a bottle opener/medal when they finish. The race is followed by a party in the United Club at Soldier Field. The event starts at 10 a.m.

January 25

Aon Step Up for Kids -- Forget about running on Chicago's mostly flat streets for a day, and take part in the 18th annual stair-climbing challenge at the Aon Center. Participants will climb 80 floors to the top of the building to benefit Lurie Children's Hospital. The event is also a fundraising challenge for participants who will raise money prior to the event.

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