Organizing a race in Chicago requires fees, permits and patience

Each year thousands of people take part in all kinds of walking and running events in Chicago. But what’s it like to put on an event like this?

Curious City ultra marathon
Courtesy Chicago Lakefront Ultras
Curious City ultra marathon
Courtesy Chicago Lakefront Ultras

Organizing a race in Chicago requires fees, permits and patience

Each year thousands of people take part in all kinds of walking and running events in Chicago. But what’s it like to put on an event like this?

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Every year in Chicago, tens of thousands of people take part in 5Ks, marathons and other running and walking events across the city.

One Curious City listener wanted to know: What’s the process like to get permission to hold one of these events? And what rules do event organizers need to follow?

Well, in a city where you need a permit for everything from fixing up your house to selling food out of a cart, you know the process isn’t necessarily going to be as simple as filling out one online form.

So we reached out to Jeff Fleitz of Chicago Lakefront Ultras. Ultramarathons may be one of the most physically demanding events on the race calendar. They take place each spring and fall in Chicago. Fleitz told us about the (sometimes comedically bureaucratic) hoops people need to jump through to put on a run or a walk in Chicago.

Press the audio player above to hear the full story.

Thanks to Stacey Miceli for the question that inspired this week’s episode.

Jason Marck is a senior audio producer for Curious City. Follow him @JasonMarck