Race Start Times - 2021
100K Start - 6 AM on October 23rd (15 hour cutoff)
50 Mile (12 hour cutoff), 50K Start (8 hour cutoff) - 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)
1st Annual Outerbelt Ultra Marathons
WELCOME! 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 210-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 Palos Woods up north to Lake County, and finally back south along the Chicago Lakefront returning to Palos Woods. 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.
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 as much of it as we can during daylight hours! With the main event of the full 220-mile Outerbelt Trail distance not being allowed we'll be looking to assemble a competitive race at all distance from the 100K to the 5K.
- Jemal Swoboda, Race Director
After doing our best to secure permits for a full Outerbelt loop, it has been decided that we can NO LONGER move forward with any overnight race. As a result, the full 210-mile and 100-mile races have been canceled for 2021 after many months of discussions with local decision makers. We'll continue to advocate for a change in the regulations of the Forest Preserve and Park District but we'd rather run some of the trail than none of it!
Local time: 10:21 PM
If you were registered for these longer distances you would have received an email offering the option for a refund or to drop down to another distance that is proceeding in 2021.
As a result of this change, the race start/finish for all distances will begin and end in Palos Woods on October 23, 2021. The 100K, 50 mile, and 50K distances will be out-and-back loops this first year to most efficiently use our aid station supports running clockwise from Palos Woods. Our 100K route will start in the Palos Woods and turn back 6 miles north of Oak Park. The 50-mile route will turn back near Oak Park and head back south with aid stations every 5-6 miles.
The Outerbelt trail is 80% dirt and gravel with the balance paved trails, sidewalks, and a few road crossings. All distances from the 100k down to the half marathon are mostly dirt and gravel trails.
Thanks so much and look forward to exploring the great outdoors that surround Chicago with you all!