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Running the annual Race to Wrigley for fun and raising money for charity

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The popular event that raises money for Cubs Charities attracted over 8,000 runners.

The Wrigley Field Marquee for the 2018 Race to Wrigley
Sara Sanchez

Chicago Cubs Charities hosts a variety of fundraisers throughout the year for people who are interested in contributing to their work in Chicago. One of those events is the Race to Wrigley, which is a 5K run around Lakeview that takes a small detour through the Wrigley Field concourse before finishing on Clark Street.

Running through the concourse alone is worth it, but as you’ll see below there are a lot of awesome reasons to run. My friend Dave Hochbam captured this part of his race [VIDEO]:

Dave was also kind enough to share this awesome shot as they exited below the marquee.

Dave and Jenny Hochbaum exit under the marquee at the 2018 Race to Wrigley
Dave Hochbaum

With an experience like this you can understand why the race sells out. In fact, last year’s race sold out in record time, so this year I made sure I was registered early. The forecast indicated it might be a bit rainy at the start, but it was still right around 60 degrees, so I figured it would be okay. Ultimately, I didn’t even need to worry about the rain. A smattering of raindrops fell during the national anthem, but they were cleared up by the time we were running. The weather was basically perfect for running.

The race is incredibly well organized. There are plenty of gear check stations and port-a-potties for the race. Streets are closed along the course and on Clark/Waveland to allow for a mini race village to be set up. The addition of Gallagher Way in the last year also opens up a lot of space for racers and spectators to hang out before, during and after the race. Runners were lined up for brunch at the Brickhouse Tavern and all of the new venues at the Hotel Zachary across the street.

The Race to Wrigley at Gallagher Way
Sara Sanchez
Full patios at Hotel Zachary venues
Sara Sanchez

This is definitely a race that is friendly for runners of all abilities. There are multiple start corrals to ensure that runners go out with people who are roughly all running the same pace. There are always a number of run/walkers and walkers who are just enjoying the day and the festivities. There are two aid stations in case you need water or Gatorade on the course. Runners receive T-shirts, a drawstring Cubs bag and a finisher’s medal. You can see the shirt and medal below:

2018 Race to Wrigley shirt and medal
Sara Sanchez

It would be fun to run through Lakeview and Wrigley Field under any circumstances, but the charity aspect of this run really makes it special. The Cubs have donated millions of dollars to a variety of youth projects in Chicago and that number has risen substantially since the Ricketts family took over ownership of the team. That money funds baseball and fitness center capital improvements throughout Chicago, youth development programming, and college scholarships. This is all in addition to the relationship the Cubs and Cubs players have with area hospitals.

Races, particularly those that are run for charities, are made up of thousands of stories. All of the 8,500 runners at the starting line had a different reason to run. One of those stories greeted me as I made my way to the start line yesterday.

I was walking to the start a bit after seven am and saw Clark the Cub walking with a small family. He had a “Team Audrey” jersey on his back. I wish I’d had my camera out to take a pic as he waved, but I was still curious about Team Audrey after I was done running. It turned out to be a pretty incredible story, and you can learn a bit more about the family he was running with, and the little girl that inspired them to be out there, in this ABC7 Chicago piece highlighting this story [VIDEO].

May 6 was a beautiful day to run at Wrigley Field. Consider signing up and joining us next year. Whether you’re doing it for an Audrey of your own, a trip through the concourse or a spring brunch with good friends, you won’t regret the Race to Wrigley.

Here are some photos from around the neighborhood during the race.