Race Start Times - 2021
220 Mile Race Star (Solo & Relay) - 8 AM on October 21st (72 Hour Cut-Off)
100 Mile, 100K Start - 7 AM on October 23rd (30-hour cutoff for 100 Mile and 15 hours for 100K)
50 Mile, 50K Start - 8 AM on October 23rd
1/2 and Full Marathon - 8:30 AM on October 23rd
5K and 10K - 9 AM on October 23rd (Palos Park Woods) and October 24th (Northbrook)
1st Annual Outerbelt Ultra Marathons
UPDATE We did our best but COVID beat us for 2020, so we're trying again for 2021. The plan is to move the race start/finish to Palos Woods and we've moved the start date to October 21, 2021 for the 220-miler and October 23, 2021 for the start of all the other longer distances with the 10K and 5K taking place on October 23rd and 24th.
Local time: 10:25 PM
CURRENT AID & SLEEP STATION PLAN: With so much ground to cover, we'll be partnering with local running clubs, restaurants, and chambers of commerce along the route with the goal of having stocked aid stations every 5-7 miles along the trail with water only stations occasionally staffed along the trail. We are currently planning all distances below the 220 loop (individual /team relay) to be out and back loops for logistical planning and ease. We'll have sleep stations set up roughly at 70 miles, 135 miles, and 190 miles with drop bags allowed at these stations plus three other stations near 40 miles, 100 miles, and 165 miles. Drop bags allowed at the turnarounds for 50 and 100 milers with (2) more drop bag locations at 25 miles and 75 miles for 100 milers. Still working out the details but we expect pacers to be allowed for 100-mile race at mile 50 and mile 70 for full Outerbelt loopers.
>Race Description: There’s a city loop trail that goes all the way around Chicago that you’d never believe. This giant system of parks, trails, and natural attractions is truly something spectacular.
Chicago is known for many things -- skyline-perfecting architecture, waistline-expanding cuisine, the most revolting booze known to man. Natural beauty is not necessarily one of those things. However, a massive greenbelt of spectacular nature was right here all along.
In the summer of 2019, a group of intrepid local hikers discovered a way to hike around the entire Chicago metro area in one go. It’s called the Chicago Outerbelt, an uninterrupted 220-mile nature trail that pieces together existing forest preserves and parkland into one continuous loop. With highlights along the trail ranging from scenic lakes and rustic campsites to forested woodlands and lakefront beaches, let no one ever tell you again that there’s no such thing as nature in Chicago. You just gotta know where to find it.
Simply put, the Chicago Outerbelt is a trail that connects some of the best nature surrounding our city. Our route will extend from Downtown’s Buckingham Fountain to the south suburbs, west to the Des Plaines River Trail, up north to Lake County, and finally back south along the Chicago lakefront. Primarily it consists of municipal properties pieced together for the first time -- like the Cook County Forest Preserve District, Chicago Park District, and Lake County Forest Preserves. With some sections traversing secluded wilderness, and others right near urban populations, the result is a running and hiking experience you won’t find anywhere besides Chicago.
Along the Outerbelt, you’ll see a vast cross-section of wildlife including deer, herons, egrets, eagles, hawks, frogs, toads, and fish. The only dangers you’re likely to encounter are some poison ivy, a few bug bites, and maybe a little sunburn.
Sooo...we're going to run it! The main event will be the full 220-mile Outerbelt Trail distance starting on Thursday with options for a team relay or a solo push and a 72-hour cut-off. There will be various ultra distances that will start on Saturday morning to highlight the diversity of the trail system around Chicago and even some shorter distances in cities along the trail. Thanks so much and look forward to exploring the great outdoors that surround Chicago with you all!
- Jemal Swoboda, Race Director