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Chicago running for 2011

San Francisco, Dec. 4: A close-up of the dirty sneakers of a runner while racing during the Gore-Tex 50 Mile Race in The North Face Endurance Challenge. The 50-mile race began in the dark at 5 a.m.
San Francisco, Dec. 4: A close-up of the dirty sneakers of a runner while racing during the Gore-Tex 50 Mile Race in The North Face Endurance Challenge. The 50-mile race began in the dark at 5 a.m.Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Do you have goals for running this year? Do you want to start running, or run your first half marathon, or do an ultra? Or anything in between? This is the week when many of us are looking ahead, contemplating the new year, and figuring out what we'd like to accomplish.

If you're thinking of setting a goal for yourself, do it now. There's no time like the present. Look up your race, search for a training program, sign up with a running group.

Many Chicago races are already open for registration. If you want to run an 8K early in the season, look at the new St. Paddy's 8K run, held on March 20, 2011. Or if you want to start the racing season with thousands of other runners, sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle. Registration actually begins today and it traditionally sells out quickly. Check out www.shamrockshuffle.com to register.

If you want a longer distance consider the Soldier Field 10 Mile, held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. And of course, if you're planning on the marathon, registration will open in a few weeks and sell out quickly.

Make your goal realistic, sign up now, and the next thing you know, you'll have finished your race, completed your goal, and will be looking ahead for your next one.

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