It’s pretty common knowledge that running provides an uber-efficient workout: You’ll quickly torch calories  (bonus: you actually keep burning those calories  after you finish your run); you need minimal equipment (sneakers, comfy breathable clothes, a great sports bra ), and you can do it just about anywhere. Running can also help you manage stress  and even fight or prevent addiction .
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just thinking about getting started (in which case, here’s everything you need to know to start training for a 5K ), a race on the horizon can provide great motivation to get out there every morning and keep that training going. And the best part: If you participate in a charity race, you’re not just reaping the fitness benefits for yourself, you’re raising funds for a great cause.
Want to stretch the impact of your miles even further? Strap on a UNICEF Kid Power  band and track your activity  to earn life-saving therapeutic food packets for malnourished children around the world.
So lace up those sneakers, pull your hair back, and get ready to run to help raise awareness (and money!) for those in need.
Run for Gus 
July 27, 2017, at 9 a.m. in Chicago
This charity race is focused on advancing research and developing treatment for pediatric brain tumors. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago  is holding the 5K to not only spread the word about this life-threatening condition, but also to save lives in the process.
Run for Veterans 
July 30, 2017, at 9 a.m. in Burr Ridge, Illinois
The 4th annual Run for Veterans 5K is open to anyone seeking to provide support to veterans in need of therapy and mental health services. If you’d like to show your appreciation to the men and women who’ve served this country, this is the perfect opportunity.
Aug. 5, 2017, at 9 a.m. in Chicago
In developing countries, it’s not unheard of to walk 6 kilometers for water. And most of the time, that water isn’t usually clean enough to drink. This 6k challenges you to imagine you’re walking (or running) in someone else’s shoes.
Aug. 19, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Park Ridge, Illinois
There are approximately 30 million slaves  around the globe and 80 percent  of all human trafficking is sexual exploitation. Whether you decide to walk, jog or run this 5K, you can make a difference by raising awareness about this tragic situation happening all over the world.
B P.R.E.S.E.N.T. 
Aug. 19, 2017, at 9 a.m. in Chicago
The B P.R.E.S.E.N.T. walk/run 5K is all about ending the cycle of young men being incarcerated and becoming involved with illegal activity. The goal and mission of this run is to let them know they aren’t alone. There is always help and a path to a better and brighter future.
Race to Stop Hunger 
Aug. 26, 2017, at 8 a.m. in Roselle, Illinois
Race to put an end to hunger across the world! All funds from this 5K race will go to Kids Against Hunger — Fox Valley , a nonprofit organization dedicated to packaging safe and healthy meals for people in serious need of nutrition.
Chicago Lung Run 
Aug. 27, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Chicago
Approximately 575 Americans  are diagnosed with lung cancer  each day. Show your support and help raise awareness by running this 5K alongside Montrose Harbor with other passionate Chicagoans, leading hospital representatives, and survivors.
Learn more about other upcoming races from Fleet Feet Sports Chicago . Join in on the fun and make a difference this summer!
If you’re involved in an upcoming charity race you’d like to see featured in Make It Better, email us at [email protected] !
More from Make It Better:
- 4 Chicago Charity Events for Foodies 
- 10 of the World’s Most Inspiring Athletes 
- 7 Fun Ways to in Volunteer in Chicago This Summer 
Rebeca Ballesteros is a Make It Better intern and a soon-to-be senior at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. While working toward a bachelor’s degree in English/Communication, she enjoys reading books by her favorite authors Jodi Picoult and Emily Giffin.