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The Workout: July Event Highlights

The next few weeks are jam-packed with events for walkers, runners and cyclists of all ages and abilities. Here are several in and around your community.

July seems to be the height of the racing calendar for the greater Chicago area. Every weekend there are multiple events not-so-far-away for those interested in walking, running, biking, or maybe even trying a triathlon. Now is the time to pick an event and make it yours.

Up first, the Winnetka Firecracker 5k finishes off the month of June with a great event for both runners and walkers alike. The 3.1 mile race will be held Saturday, June 30, at 8 AM on the Village Green. Race day registration is available.

If you're up for a slightly longer distance, the Highland Park Firecracker 4 is a four-mile race on Sunday, July 1st, and it's being held at the Highland Park Rec center at 8 AM. Again, both walkers and runners are encouraged to participate.

For night owls who like to bike, check out the Late Ride, one of Chicago's more unusual events. It's a 25-mile easy bike ride through the streets of Chicago that takes place Saturday night into Sunday morning. “Late Ride” is not a misnomer, as the race starts at 1:00 AM. You can register the night of the event, which starts and ends at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Pre-race festivities start around 11 PM on Saturday night. A helmet is required, and a bike light is highly recommended. The event is not designed to be a race, so you can proceed at your own pace. Just try not to fall asleep while riding!

On July 4th, runners and walkers have a couple of ways to start the day. In Deerfield, there's the Deerfield Rotary's Annual Fourth of July 10k Race and 5k Non-competitive Walk. In Northbrook, there's the Liberty Loop 5k run and walk, plus a one-mile fun run for kids.

For those looking to try a triathlon without traveling too far, check out the Lake Zurich Area Triathlon on Sunday July 8th. It's an Olympic distance event, which means a 1.5k swim, a 40k bike and a 10k run.

If you're a runner but would like your race to have a French flair, try the Bastille Day 5k/8k and Block Party in Chicago on July 12th. It's sure to be a très bien way to spend a Thursday evening.

There seems to be a race in Chicago every weekend during the month of July, but one of the more popular events is the Chinatown 5k on July 14th, which also offers a fun run for kids in addition to a chip-timed race. 

For cyclists who have already spent a lot of time in the saddle this season and want a challenge, the Ride for Aids is a two-day cycling event that will take participants from Chicago up to Wisconsin and back. The ride takes place July 14th and 15th and will cover a total of 200 miles.

Looking for a multisport event for kids? The Northbrook Park District is offering a kid's duathlon (run and bike) on Friday July 20th for kids ages 5-14.

For those not content with standard-fair runs and rides, there are some adventure races in Chicago the weekend of July 21st, including the Muddy Buddy Ride and Run for those who aren't afraid of a little dirt, and The Great Urban Race for those who want a mental, as well as physical challenge. 

July 22nd brings the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon back to Chicago. The 13.1 mile course runs through the streets of Chicago, with lots of music to keep runners motivated. Come for the run, stay for the after-race concert. 

The following weekend brings another triathlon, the South Shore Triathlon on Saturday, July 28th. It's a sprint-distance triathlon (750 meter swim, 19k bike, 5k run), and there's also an Aquabike option (750 meter swim, 19k bike) for non-runners, plus a kids race for the younger set. 

Closer to home, on Sunday, July 29th the Glenview Park District offers a chance to try a tri with the Park Center Triathlon, which consists of a 300-yard pool swim, a 10-mile bike and a 5k run.  

For gals only, there's the Venus de Miles bike ride on Sunday July 29th in Lake Forest, an event for women cyclists of all skill and experience levels. There's a long option of 61 miles, and a short option of 25 miles, both traveling through the north and northwest suburbs. 

And the month finishes with the Run for Walk at Northwestern University on Sunday July 29th. The 4.1 mile run and 5k walk takes place on the scenic Evanston campus. 

Of course, this list includes just a small fraction of the events that take place in area communities. Check out the Chicago Area Runners Association and Chicago Athlete for a more comprehensive list of events you can participate in. 

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