Students Run Chicago (SRC) was founded in 2014 when a small group of runner friends challenged 10 high school students to train for the 2014 Chicago Marathon. The first season was more of an experiment than a sure thing. Initially, there were no uniforms, equipment, or funding of any kind.
However, the SRC team progressed from duct tape name tags to tech shirts printed in someone’s garage. We raised funds to purchase shoes and needed supplies for every student. On October 12, 2014, all 10 students completed their first marathon with the founding mentors by their side.
The goal for SRC’s first year was to simply have one student cross the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. Similar to how a student may feel that training for a marathon is a huge goal to take on, SRC’s first season was much the same. However, with the support of the entire Chicago running community, all 10 students who started the season were able to complete the 2014 Chicago Marathon. SRC has grown each year since the inaugural season, with more than 100 students in total completing the Chicago Marathon through the end of the fifth season in 2018. Our 2018 season included 19 students from ten different Chicago high schools and every student was a marathon finisher. Now, after our 2023 season, over 600 students have enjoyed our program, and we have close to 200 students that have medaled at the Chicago Marathon.
Our program seeks to involve young people in the sport of running. We provide the framework for students to accomplish big goals, literally step by step. The sport of running can have a huge and positive impact on one’s life and we seek to share this with the younger members of our community.
Since day one, our program has been 100% volunteer-run and managed. It speaks volumes that so many people are willing to give their time and commitment to the program. We have been successful in establishing a sustainable model by nurturing relationships within the local and national running community. We are successful because of the dedication of the students and their families, mentors, and ongoing support of the community.
“The future looks bright!” -Steve Rak, Co-founder