Blog

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 11
    [blog_title] => 2017 CARA Runners' Choice Circuit Runners of the Year
    [blog_description] => 

They trained, they raced and they won! The 2017 CARA Runners' Choice Circuit award winners will be honored on February 3rd at the CARA Awards Party. Check out all of the award winners HERE. We are pleased to announce this year's Runners of the Year:

 

-Overall Male: James Akita

-Overall Female: Columba Montes

-Masters Male: John Collet*

-Masters Female: Angelica Guerrero*

-Veteran Male: John Collet*

-Veteran Female: Angelica Guerrero*

-Senior Male: Michael Brosilow

-Senior Female: Grace Wasielewski

-Super Senior Male: Jonathan Cohen

-Super Senior Female: Nancy Rollins

 

*Received both masters and veteran honors.

 

 
[blog_image] => blog_1515109255.jpg [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2018-01-04 05:40:55 [modified] => 2018-01-04 17:40:56 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 10
    [blog_title] => Carey Pinkowski to receive CARA Lifetime Achievement Award
    [blog_description] => 

With great pleasure, the Chicago Area Runners Associating announces Carey Pinkowski as the recipient of the 2017 CARA Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at the CARA Award’s Party on February 3, 2018, at the Shapiro Ballroom.

Since its inception, recipients of the CARA Lifetime Achievement Award have been those who have made significant and impactful contributions to the Chicagoland running community. Award recipients are chosen through nominations and feedback from CARA membership, CARA staff, the CARA Board of Directors and the Chicago running community at – large.

As executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, Pinkowski is a leader in the running industry both locally, and around the world. Chicago is a part of the global running scene thanks to the quality and competition of these events. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon reached its 40th year in 2017 and was highlighted by Galen Rupp becoming the first American male to win the race in 15 years.

“Pinkowski has made a unique impact on running in Chicago. His events inspire runners to train, race and fundraise like few others can. Carey and his team’s impact goes beyond sport!” say’s Greg Hipp, CARA’s Executive Director.

Carey Pinkowski came to the helm of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon nearly three decades ago, serving as its executive race director since 1990. During his tenure, the Chicago Marathon has experienced astronomical growth, expanding from 6,000 registered runners in 1990 to more than 44,000 finishers today, including runners from all 50 states and more than 130 countries.

For CARA, the Chicago Marathon has long been the inspiration for the organization’s popular Summer Marathon Training Program.  Nearly 2,000 runners participate yearly at sites across the city and suburbs, with nearly 40% of those runners running for a charity fundraising team. Pinkowski is a regular visitor to CARA training sites and clinics, always providing encouragement to local runners and unique incites on race preparation. Throughout the growth of the event his connection to the local running community has remained visible and strong.

“CARA trains Chicagoland’s runners, but it is the marathon that provides the inspiration. We are not able to make the impact that we do in local running without events like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon”, say’s Hipp.

Pinkowski was born in Harvey, Ill. and raised in Hammond, IN. He has run only one marathon himself: the 1983 Chicago Marathon, stopping the clock in an impressive 2:20:43. As a teenager, he cemented his legacy as a track star at Hammond High School in 1975 when he and two teammates, Tim Keough and Rudy Chapa, each ran two miles in less than nine minutes, becoming the first high school trio to ever accomplish such a feat in the same season. As a solo performer, Pinkowski picked up two state championship titles in the mile. He went on to compete at Villanova University where he was a three-time All American in cross country and track.

Pinkowski has received numerous awards including the Illinois Track & Cross Country Coaches Association Meritorious Service to the Youth of Illinois Award (1998), Chicago Area Runners Association Gold Medal Award for Event Production (1999), MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Race Director of the Year Award presented by Running Times magazine (2001), Runner’s World magazine’s Best Race Director Award (2002), the National Distance Running Hall of Fame’s Fred Lebow Award (2004) and USA Track & Field’s Allan Steinfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Men’s Long Distance Running (2009).

---------------------

About the Chicago Area Runners Association: Since 1978 the Chicago Area Runners Association -- CARA, a non-profit organization has been dedicated to running advocacy in Chicago and suburbs.  Starting as the local running club, CARA has grown into the organization that championed the running movement across Chicagoland. We help runners run better, farther, faster and with more fun by clearing paths to a wealth of training, social, outreach and advocacy programs, while promoting friendships and personal fulfillment. Learn more at CARAruns.org.

About the CARA Awards Party: Join CARA on February 3, 2018 at the Shapiro Ballroom in Chicago. In addition to the CARA Lifetime Achievement Award, CARA will honor 2017 CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit award winners and Hall of Fame inductees. The annual event brings together runners and running enthusiasts from local running clubs from all around Chicagoland. The event is hosted by CARA and presented by the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Learn more at CARAruns.org.

[blog_image] => blog_1515088481.jpg [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2018-01-04 01:24:09 [modified] => 2018-01-04 13:24:10 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 9
    [blog_title] => Year End Letter from Greg Hipp, CARA Executive Director
    [blog_description] => 

As we complete 2017, I cannot help but feel proud of all that CARA has accomplished this year, our 39th year. Yes, we are about to turn 40 in 2018! This year we look forward to celebrating our history, and most importantly, the members who have made CARA one of the largest and most impactful running organizations in the country. 

CARA is unique in the landscape of large-scale running organizations. We do not own or manage a mass scale race like our closest comparators, such as the New York Road Runners, Atlanta Track Club or Boston Athletic Association, yet, through the work of our members, we have developed ourselves into the nation's third-largest local running organization.

We have done this by instead, providing a mass of programming and events, over 700 dates this year alone, that allows the local running community to regularly come together and build what we value most at CARA, community.

The community found at CARA is one that not only inspires participation, it inspires leadership. CARA has a staff of five full-time and three part-time. That, in comparison to the New York Road Runners staff of 235, and Atlanta Track Club’s staff of over 30. So how do we offer more dates of programs and events per year than there are days?

By CARA members this year serving in nearly 10,000 roles, giving well over 42,000 of their hours to volunteer for the running community. This level of member leadership is what makes CARA the organization that it is.

Like many not-for-profits, CARA has regular staff turnover. The last few years, that turnover, has been more than normal. Each time CARA staff has rolled up their sleeves to take on new duties to keep CARA moving forward in times of change. But more than anything, I credit our member leaders for making sure that through every transition, CARA has continued to execute its mission.

Running changes lives, and at CARA we have long understood that through the "Power of the Group" we can make running more than sport. As much as we love chasing personal goals, competing, and working towards fitter and healthier lives, I believe running’s most powerful benefit is its ability to build community.

CARA is and has long been, a community of incredible people and accomplishments. A look around a CARA training site, a Saturday ‘Go Run or a Circuit race starting line can be inspiring. You see crowds of what may appear to be normal people. But they are doing extraordinary things, such as running a marathon, giving back, or racing their way to new achievements. But through it all, they are together and finding community through running as they work towards their common goals.

One of the extraordinary people at CARA is Chuck Aron. Chuck received CARA’s Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year. Chuck is what CARA is all about. He not only achieves incredible feats, like running 73 races last year at the age of 70 to fundraise for Alzheimer’s, he also gives back his time throughout the year as a volunteer group leader for CARA training, leading other runners to their own accomplishments.

In October we honored several impactful CARA member leaders with Special Recognition at our Volunteer Party. One of those was Evelyn Cato who gives her time at Humboldt Park for CARA’s ‘Go Run program. There she sets up the course each week for these free timed-runs. This year we celebrated our 100th free ‘Go Run. ‘Go Run began in May 2016 with a goal of removing barriers to involvement in organized running, to connect people to their neighborhood parks, and to build community in underserved areas of Chicago. With the support of the Chicago Park District, the City of Chicago Mayors Office, and 100’s of volunteers, we have already seen over 5,000 runners take part in these free timed running events.

Earlier this year we also honored training program site coordinators Darren DeMattoff, Jim Murphy and Betsy Balgoyeen-Keller with Special Recognition. These special site coordinators play an impactful role at CARA. They are just a few of the many that dedicate their time to change lives through CARA training. Through Darren, Jim and Betsy's leadership, they show the power of what our CARA community can do for others. They selflessly give their time throughout the year to inspire local runners to accomplish their goals.

CARA training’s impact is extended through our partnerships that make your miles more meaningful. This year CARA partnered with almost 50 charities to provide subsidized access to training programs. Nearly 800 CARA runners ran for charity this year and as a result, CARA runners were able to fundraise approximately $1-million for their causes!

CARA leaders have been active this year in Chicago's efforts to separate the Lakefront Trail for pedestrians and cyclists. Board member Tom Klimmeck and CARA staff members have attended near-weekly meetings with the Chicago Park District and our friends at the Active Transportation Alliance to ensure that the project represents the needs of runners. The construction process has seen its challenges, and runners have had to and will continue to need to, be patient as work continues, but we look forward to the completion of this project that will provide a safer and more accessible Lakefront Trail by year's end.

In February we will come together for the CARA Awards Party, where we will celebrate 2017 Runners’ Choice Circuit individual and club winners, Hall of Fame inductees and this year’s CARA Lifetime Achievement Award honoree to be announced soon! One of the highlights of this year’s Circuit was the club competition. Six different local clubs, led by the Oak Park Runners Club, broke into the top three in various categories. Watching these clubs use the Circuit to rally their club’s membership around a common purpose is exactly what we look to the Circuit to provide the local running community. 

Outgoing CARA President Anne Baker and her fellow volunteer board members have pressed CARA forward to renewed growth and stability this year. In 2018, CARA will welcome a new President and Vice-President to our volunteer Board of Directors. I am excited about the leadership new President Chris Hennessy and new Vice-President Kerl LaJeune will bring to CARA. The Board of Directors serves to provide the work and wisdom needed to keep CARA running smooth. Chris and Kerl bring valuable skill sets and experiences to the board’s top spots. The organization has a lot to look forward to with the attention to detail and high standards they provide to CARA.

CARA, and the Chicagoland running community have come along way since our first days in 1978 when runners gathered wearing black armbands to chant "10 o'clock too late, $10 too much" over late start times and then high costs to run the Mayor Daley (Chicago) Marathon. Now CARA is America's third largest local running organization and we are fortunate to have one of the greatest marathons in the World, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, right in our own hometown.

We live in one of the greatest running communities in the World. We enjoy World Class races; robust training programs, incredible trails and greenways, and a race circuit other communities envy. And, let us not take for granted all of our local running clubs, running stores and races that are among the best in the country. Resolve to support local running this year by doing business with these running community drivers. 

From our early days, CARA leadership has worked hard to serve Chicagoland running. As we move into another year our principle of "member-driven" will continue to be our identity and our strength! I look forward to all we will accomplish together this year, and that when people say who is “CARA”, they know it is our members. We are “CARA” and I am so proud to together be part of the amazing and caring community of runners we have become over the past 40 years.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------
Greg Hipp
Executive Director
Chicago Area Runners Association

 

[blog_image] => blog_1514742990.png [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-31 03:18:01 [modified] => 2017-12-31 15:17:22 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 5
    [blog_title] => The Man Who Never Met a Stranger - Frank Nicholson
    [blog_description] => 

Many of us know Frank Nicholson in the Chicago running community as that fun loving runner who is passionate about running, competing and building/growing CARA in Chicago! Frank as “that guy” that knew everyone! He is that friend to all with the charming British accent. But, what do we really know about Frank Nicholson? Did you know that Frank spent time in his early years working for a British company in Nigeria, single handedly risking his life to protect not only the company, but also the brave employees that worked there? Maybe you knew that Frank spent his early years in Chicago designing and developing what is now known as HMO health plans for offered by many insurance companies. Or maybe you knew that Frank’s dear friend, the Reverend John R. Dolan wrote a book about him as a result of Frank’s relationship with people and being a people person along with his accounting & business prowess made him a true leader in this world.

The Book in question is “The Man Who Never Met a Stranger!” A book about Frank, his life and his unstoppable positive attitude in all his life endeavors. Per the book, “Frank’s humor and grace motivated and inspired the author so much, that he wanted to share Frank’s life story with the world!” I think we can all agree, at whatever time we met Frank, he was a force to be reckon with and a true leader in every sense of the word.

Frank’s time running in Chicago and with CARA happened later in his life. Despite a late start, Frank left his mark on the Chicago running community both through his training and running endeavors, and through his work with CARA, serving as the CARA Board President from 1995 through 1998. Frank only began running at the age of 46, and became a competitive runner only a few years after that. His impact was immediate in the community and within CARA. He was always known in many circles as the man who “got the job done!" Frank's time at CARA was a period of large growth for the organization. His compassionate people skills, coupled with his attention detail and hard work, laid a foundation many enjoy today with CARA. Running was at the center of Frank’s life helping him focus in work, family and life. To this day, running is still a huge part of Frank’s life. At 80 years young, Frank is still going strong out on the roads!

For more information on this book or to purchase, visit Amazon. A must read, The Man Who Never Met a Stranger - Frank Nicholson

-------------------------------------

Joel Feinberg
Director of Community Engagement and Marketing
[blog_image] => blog_1512605778.jpg [blog_added_by] => 100721 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-24 11:58:57 [modified] => 2017-12-24 11:58:32 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 8
    [blog_title] => You Can Run In Winter!
    [blog_description] => 

Well, it is finally here! Winter has reared its ugly head already dropping sub-freezing temps on us! This creates a dilemma for many as to stay inside on the dreaded treadmill "dreadmill" or head outside to collect those winter miles! Well, we are here to say you can run outside in the winter and on most days. We will say that please use some discretion as well because sometimes, it is not the actual weather, but can be conditions such as ice & excessive wind that may keep you inside. Keep an eye on the weather reports and make that call that works best for you. Here are some tips about how to dress for your run in the winter in Chicago!

Start with your base layers - this is can be for most the key critical pieces for keeping you warm during your winter run. The key is to be balanced with your selection so as to keep you cool and dry as you sweat, but not becoming damp due to the layers affecting the wicking. Most folks start with a wind blocking undergarment or a pair of running shorts for the mid-section. The top for women will include a sports bra, one that is firm and also allow for wicking sweat. Men will have a wicking short sleeve run top to start with.

The next layer up top will be your choice of long-sleeve top. This can be varying weights from thin wicking top to a thicker wicking top! Many manufacturers offer various weights and again it can all depend on the temperature outside. Usually under 20 degrees (F) you go with a little heavier long-sleeve top.

Jacket selection is also critical! It can vary on the weather for sure along with Jacket thickness. What has been really popular and great in all weather are the blended jackets with a wind/water block front and then wicking material in the back to allow for maximum breathability and element protection. Vests can often be used as well for folks in moderately cold weather providing the protection around the chest area and leaving the arms open so folks get maximum cooling. Once it gets below 25 degrees, you may need the coverage of a jacket around the arms.

The Bottom half! For this we talked about having running underwear and possibly one that has wind block if it is needed for protection, especially with the guys. Frostbite on the boy parts can happen, so take caution! For most this now becomes personal preference. Do you wear a tight or a pant? This is personal preference for everyone. The good thing is that many run shops have tights and pants so you can take a look, try on and decide. A pant is a nice option for the winter offering wind/water block front and breathable back. Keeping the legs warm and loose is key for winter running!

Socks! These can be critical! The key to a great cold weather sock is the thickness and also that it covers your ankle! Think of having that cuff over your ankle like the scarf around your neck. It gives that warmth and expands down into the foot! Some folks have also tried using thin wicking socks and doubling up. This helps in also blister prevention (the two socks rub instead of your foot) as well. A few brands make a double layer sock as well which can work really well.

Hat & Gloves...These become another personal preference for folks as you various weights, colors and styles. The key though is to cover the head to keep the heat in. A wicking winter hat is key, as you will sweat for sure so to get that sweat off you is critical and many hats from many of the major running vendors will work very well! If you are someone who can't do a hat, headbands are a nice option for folks to keep the ears warm. Ladies (and gents with long hair), hats with the ponytail cut out exist as well so if you are one who is looking for that, options are available! Gloves/mittens come in different weights & materials as well. The key is to be sure your fingers are taken care of. The most warmth will come from a mitten as it will keep the fingers together and use the body heat to keep warm. Going with a glove is a cooler option for folks that don't want/need the heat of a mitten! Also, depending on the weather, you may need a running mask to go over the face.

Footwear...Now again, this is personal preference for many folks! Most shoes will work as many places do a great job in plowing and getting road/sidewalk conditions ok to run in. For a bit more traction though, the Yaktrax clip on cleats for any running shoe! They work great in snow & ice, but do remember, any cement sections and they could break. Another option is a trail shoe with the aggressive tread or lugs on the bottom and a stiff rock plate which forces you to dig in a little on each stride. Look for shoes with sturdy lugs and some sort of water resistant upper/water proof upper.

Night/Early Morning Runs - if you are running where daylight is not an option, wearing reflective materials or a vest is recommended like the Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest. For quick light options, you have the Amphipod Vizlet LED and the Micro-Light Band. If you need a front light, the Swift-Cap Clip LED Light from Amphipod is a great option! Be safe when light is dim to none and we have some great Amphipod options for low light/no light running!

With these tips for you, running outside is not bad and can be done in Chicago! One thing to keep in mind is that when you start out on your winter run, you want to be a little chilly starting out. That allows the body to heat up and utilize all the layers properly to wick the sweat and keep heat in. If you are warm starting out, you may overheat and then sweating can make you actually colder. Layering is always key for winter running! Again, play it safe with temps & road/trail conditions as well to be sure you are safe at all times during the run. One more thing! With all the layers and such, you may have some additional rubbing! Be sure to use the body glide for winter running just like you did in the summer on those areas that rub or sensitive! Now get out and show winter you can run and enjoy yourself in the great Midwest winter outdoors!

Joel Feinberg
Director of Community Engagement & Marketing
Chicago Area Runners Association
[blog_image] => blog_1513378223.jpg [blog_added_by] => 100721 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-15 04:52:33 [modified] => 2017-12-15 16:52:25 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 7
    [blog_title] => Perception of Effort and Listening to Your Body
    [blog_description] => 

Two of the things I think are most important in the midst of a training season are perception of effort and listening to your body. Both are very individualized and take some experience, but could end up making a world of difference to a successful and healthy training cycle. 

Perception of effort is really about taking a day or two a week where you run completely based on feel. If you wear your watch, I suggest tucking it away and waiting to look until the end. This run is not about the pace you think you should be running. It is about the pace your body wants to run that given day. And while this may mean slower on the days you are tired, it could also mean faster on the days your feel good! While I am all about a good GPS watch, there are certainly days that it should be left at home. Don't let your watch determine how you feel about every single run. It isn't fair to your body.
 
Speaking of your body, it should definitely have a say in what you are doing day in and day out. It might be screaming at you to take a day off. Or maybe there is something going on with your left shin that you have been ignoring. This is also when flexibility in training comes in handy. If you are set for a hard run on a certain day and your body isn't up to it, it may not be a day to push. Our bodies are our best tools. Take time to listen adjust and give it the extra love it might need (ice, sleep, water, etc.).
 
----------------------------------------
 
Leah Bohr
Director of Training
Chicago Area Runners Association
[blog_image] => blog_1513206478.jpg [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-13 05:07:58 [modified] => 2017-12-13 17:07:53 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 6
    [blog_title] => Legendary York cross country coach Joe Newton dies at 88
    [blog_description] => 

From the Chicago Tribune: Joe Newton, one of the best-known and most successful high school coaches in Illinois history, died on Saturday.

Newton, who was 88, led York to a record 28 state championships in boys cross country in a 57-year stint at the school that ended with his retirement after the 2016 season.

Read the full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elmhurst/sports/ct-elh-york-boys-cross-country-joe-newton-tl-1210-20171209-story.html

[blog_image] => blog_1512916901.png [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-10 08:42:52 [modified] => 2017-12-10 08:42:52 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 4
    [blog_title] => Runners' Choice Circuit Club Standings
    [blog_description] => 

The 2017 CARA Runners' Choice Circuit club standings are final. Congratulations to these fine clubs who took part in this year's Circuit. The Circuit includes 15 of Chicagoland's best races and supports both competition and camaraderie between runners within and between clubs. All award winners will be recognized on February 3, 2018 at the Shapiro Ballroom. Join us then for the CARA Awards Party.

Combined Club Standings:

  1. Oak Park Runners Club  115
  2. Fast Track Racing Team  114
  3. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 112
  4. Evanston Running Club 111
  5. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 105
  6. Elmhurst Running Club 94
  7. DW Running 84
  8. Track and Trough Athletic Union 82
  9. Bootleg Runners Coalition 56
  10. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 36

Open Men's Standings:

  1. Fast Track Racing Team 120
  2. Oak Park Runners Club 107
  3. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 107
  4. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 104
  5. Elmhurst Running Club 100
  6. Evanston Running Club 101
  7. DW Running 88
  8. Track & Trough Athletic Union 87
  9. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 40
  10. Bootleg Runners Coalition 37

Open Women's Standings:

  1. Oak Park Runners Club 117
  2. Fast Track Racing Team  117
  3. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 112
  4. Evanston Running Club 104
  5. Elmhurst Running Club 102
  6. DW Running 95
  7. Track and Trough Athletic Union 79
  8. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 75
  9. Bootleg Runners Coalition 63
  10. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 18

Masters Men's Standings:

  1. Fast Track Racing Team 118
  2. Oak Park Runners Club 116
  3. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 112
  4. Evanston Runners Club 106
  5. Elmhurst Running Club 99
  6. Track & Trough Athletic Union 90
  7. DW Running 80
  8. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 69
  9. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 44
  10. Bootleg Runners Coalition 25

Masters Women's Standings:

  1. Oak Park Runners Club 120
  2. Fast Track Racing Team 116
  3. Elmhurst Running Club 108
  4. Evanston Runners Club 108
  5. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 101
  6. Track & Trough Athletic Union 83
  7. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 78
  8. Bootleg Runners Coalition 34
  9. DW Running 26
  10. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 18

Veteran Men's Standings:

  1. Oak Park Runners Club 120
  2. Fast Track Racing Team 114
  3. Elmhurst Running Club 110
  4. Evanston Runners Club 106
  5. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 100
  6. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 81
  7. Frontrunners/Front Walkers 55
  8. DW Running 17
  9. Track and Trough 7

Veteran Women's Standings:

  1. Oak Park Running Club 120
  2. Evanston Runners Club 110
  3. Elmhurst Running Club 109
  4. Fast Track Racing Team 105
  5. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 102
  6. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 63
  7. Bootleg Runners Coalition 27
  8. DW Running 10
  9. Front Runners 9

Senior Men's Standings:

  1. Oak Park Running Club 118
  2. Evanston Runners Club 117
  3. Elmhurst Running Club 112
  4. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 101
  5. Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team 69
  6. Fast Track Racing Team 30
  7. DW Running 11

Senior Women's Standings:

  1. Evanston Runners Club 120
  2. Fast Track Racing Team 115
  3. Oak Park Running Club 114
  4. Elmhurst Running Club 102
  5. Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club 35
  6. DW Running 13

 

[blog_image] => blog_1512586799.png [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-06 09:33:10 [modified] => 2017-12-06 21:33:01 )

Debug:

Array
(
    [blog_id] => 3
    [blog_title] => New Website!
    [blog_description] => 

If you are reading this CARA blog entry you likely have noticed that we launched the new CARARuns.org this week. The project has been in the works for over one-year and was motivated by the vision of improving members' online experience, increasing administrative efficiencies, and decreasing costs. While the site you see now is just the first phase of this project we believe we have already taken great steps to accomplishing these goals.

CARA's goal of improving its online presence began more than four years ago. Then board member Michael Davies and his company AlphaZeta helped deliver on the CARA web site we have been fortune to work with until our recent launch. I could not discuss our new launch without first thanking Michael for his vision and contributions to CARA's ever improving online presence. 

Just over a year ago CARA began researching options to take our online tools to the next level. One of our previous challenges was the number of different online tools needed to operate CARA. In addition to a web site, CARA requires various tools for a membership database, program and event registration, communications, surveys and more. Many of the tools we were using, especially our membership system, where outdated and no longer able to serve the organization as needed. We hoped a consolidation of these tools would make for a simpler and smoother member experience online, a more efficient administration of CARA online, and ideally a reduction in costs. 

After considering several options CARA chose to partner with "The Driven", a company that specializes in club based web sites and member systems. With the help of The Driven we have accomplished our goals and with great cost savings. This savings allows CARA to focus more of its funding on our first priority, the mission and our members!

The entire CARA staff and Board of Directors have been involved in this project. Key to the project were former Executive Directors Ed Zylka and Kevin Jermyn. Former staff member Johnpaul Higgins was the driving force for the development of the new web site. He worked with The Driven to fine tune our needs and develop a set of online tools that will benefit CARA for many years. CARA also could not have made a smooth integration to the new platform without the work of CARA's Organizational Manager and Membership Coordinator Astrid Grimes. She has been working tirelessly over the past months to work with The Driven to transfer data and ensure CARA has all of the tools it needs for its membership database.

Some important features of The Driven include an integrated web-site, membership system, and registration system. No longer do members need to be transferred to third-party web sites to complete registrations. A key improvement is the ability for participants to register for membership during their program/event registration so they can take advantage of member discounts immediately. Members will also see their new memberships and renewals take immediate effect. Under our old system CARA staff had to take manual steps after each new membership or renewal before members saw their profiles become active. We have also been able to add the ability for participants to register multiple registrations under a single transaction, making it simpler for families and friends to register for CARA programming. 

A new and improved race calendar, simpler web site navigation and easier access to member race and partner discounts are also part of the new web site (look in the top level menu). As our transition continues we will be able to integrate The Driven's communication tools to improve our communications with members and the local running community.

Internally this new web site allows CARA staff to spend more time working directly with members, rather than on behind the scenes administrative tasks. It allows us to communicate with members and the local running community more efficiently. And it allows us to take advantage of cost savings that allow CARA to focus its funding on the mission and our members.

---------------------------------------

Greg Hipp
Executive Director
[blog_image] => blog_1512523570.jpg [blog_added_by] => 15677 [blog_status] => 1 [created] => 2017-12-05 09:26:00 [modified] => 2017-12-05 21:25:53 )