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Fall Color 5K Run and Walk

Unearth your inner tree champion by taking on the Fall Color 5K Run and Walk!

Content Detail

Spend a magical fall morning running or walking through a scenic course with trees just at the cusp of their full autumnal color change. You’ll experience a unique course with rolling terrain along the Arboretum’s East Side, perfect for participants of all levels to help kick off the Fall Color Festival. A virtual 5K option is also available.

Once you’ve conquered the course, stay for a postrace party with live music, food, and a complimentary beer!

Your ticket purchase helps support the Arboretum’s mission to plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.

Event highlights

  • USATF Certified Course (IL6002NM)
  • Course is entirely contained within the East Side of the Arboretum
  • Commemorative T-shirt
  • Free admission on race day to explore 1,700 acres, including the award-winning Children’s Garden
  • Awards for the top overall male, female winner, and nonbinary winners, plus top three male, female winner, and nonbinary winners in each age division
  • Race results will be shared with Athlinks

How does it work?

  • Pick up your race bib and T-shirt at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle from Wednesday, September 27, through Friday, October 6, during regular store hours, Wednesday, September 27 through Friday, October 6. If this free in-person, packet pickup option does not work for you, there are two options available for an additional fee of $10. There is no free packet pick-up on-site during race day.
  • Run or walk the 5K course on the spacious, vehicle-free East Side roads.
  • Cross the finish line, pick up a Boxed Water, enjoy the post race party and then scan the QR code on your race bib to view your results.
  • Enjoy the rest of the day exploring the Arboretum.


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Race Day Information

Accordion List

  • Awards will be given to the top three overall male, female, and nonbinary finishers, as well as the top three male, female, and non-binary in the following age groups: 14 and under; 15 to 19; 20 to 24; 25 to 29; 30 to 34; 35 to 39; 40 to 44; 45 to 49; 50 to 54; 55 to 59; 60 to 64; 65 to 69; 70 to 74; 75 to 79; 80 and up. Overall male, female, and non-binary winners do not qualify for a medal in their age bracket. The top three overall winners, male, female, and nonbinary are determined by gun time. Age division winners are determined by chip time.

    Awards can be picked up at 9:30 a.m. at the Packet Pickup Tent.

  • Gear check is available for free from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., across from the Visitor Center main doors. Gear will be checked according to bib number. We are not responsible for any lost or stolen items. Please do not check anything of value.

  • Free parking is available on-site at The Morton Arboretum. Please allow plenty of time to park and walk from parking areas. Participants are encouraged to carpool.

  • Motorized vehicles, bicycles, rollerskates, and pets are prohibited on the race course.

  • Do you have well-worn athletic shoes that you no longer need? The Morton Arboretum, in partnership with Dick Pond Athletics, will be accepting used athletic shoes for recycling and donating during packet pickup and onsite on race day. Visit the shoe recycling tent near the Start/Finish line on race day to drop off your pair.

  • Spectators can cheer on friends and family at the Start/Finish line. Spectators receive free entry if they arrive prior to 9:00 a.m. Spectators arriving after 9:00 a.m. will need to reserve general admission passes.

    Spectators are welcome to join participants at the post race party and can enjoy the Arboretum grounds after the race.

  • Strollers are permitted but must be at the back of the running or walking section when lined up at the start line. Volunteers will direct participants with strollers where to line up.

  • Large digital clocks will be stationed throughout the course. Finish line times will also be displayed on digital clocks.

  • Granola bars, bananas, and Boxed Water will be provided at the finish line.

  • Portable restrooms will be available near the start line. Restrooms are also available inside the Visitor Center and West Pavilion building.

  • Cups of water will be available at the start line and at two stations on the course.

  • The race will take place rain or shine. In the case of an emergency, participants will be notified by 6:00 a.m. on race morning via email with event updates. Notifications will also be posted on the website and The Morton Arboretum’s Facebook page.

Virtual 5K

The Virtual 5K allows participants to run or walk a 5K on a day and course of their choosing and then submit their results. This option allows participants the flexibility to complete their 5K any day or time.

How does it work?

  • Register for the Virtual Fall Color 5K Run and Walk.
  • Pick up your race bib and T-shirt at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle during packet pickup dates or it will be mailed to those that select that option during registration.
  • Run a 5K anywhere at any time; be sure to time yourself. Please note that Virtual 5K participants are not eligible for awards. Virtual runners must register by Saturday, September 16 at 11:59 p.m. to receive the free packet mailing. Any virtual runners registering after Saturday, September 16 at 11:59 p.m. will be able to pick up their packet for free at Dick Pond Athletics during the scheduled packet pickup times.

What’s included with the Virtual 5K registration cost?

  • Free packet mailing
  • Tri-blend unisex Bella+Canvas T-shirt
  • A race bib
  • Separate result page for virtual participants
  • A free timed-entry pass to run at The Morton Arboretum to use between Friday, September 29 and Friday, October 6, 2023.

Can I run my Virtual 5K at the Arboretum?

Yes, you can run the Virtual 5K at the Arboretum, but you must reserve a timed-entry pass or ticket prior to visiting.

Members can reserve their free, timed-entry pass on the Arboretum’s website. Guests will receive an email in September with instructions for reserving a free timed-entry pass for the Virtual 5K that can be used from Friday, September 29 to Friday, October 6, 2023.

Running is not permitted on any trails at the Arboretum, and runners must stay on the roads. Runners or walkers are encouraged to go the opposite direction of vehicles and stay on the right side of the road.

Packet Pickup Information

On-site participants can select one of the following packet pickup options while registering for the race.

Free packet pickup at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle

Pick up your race shirt and bib at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle during store hours the week of the race.

Free packet pickup times

Friday, September 29, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 30, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 1, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monday, October 2 to Thursday, October 5, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Friday, October 6, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Race day packet pickup and registration

Register online until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6. Please note that you will need to pick up your packet at Dick Pond by 6:00 p.m. Friday or you will incur a $10 fee to pick up onsite on race day. There is no registration on race day.

T-Shirt Image and Sizing

Postrace Party

After the race, join the fun at our postrace party in Arbor Court. Enjoy live music provided by Anchor’s Away and celebrate your race with a postrace beer.

New this year: Both an alcoholic beer option, provided by Ike & Oak in Woodbridge, and a non-alcoholic option, provided by Go Brewing located in Naperville, will be available.

Returning this year! We are rolling out a new referral program for the Fall Color 5K. Runners can earn Arboretum rewards just for inviting friends, family, co-workers, and more to join them on Saturday, October 7. At the end of your registration, you will be given a link that is designated as your referral link. The link will also be included in your registration confirmation email. Share that link through social media, email, or direct message to recruit friends to receive rewards.

3 Referrals—$5 off a $25 and above order in the Arboretum Store

5 Referrals—Two Any Day general admission tickets to the Arboretum ($32 value)

12 Referrals—Two tickets to IllumiBrew on Thursday, November 16 ($150 value)


Helpful tips for locating your personal referral code

There are three main locations you can find your referral code:

1. Within your confirmation email

2. Within your RunSignup profile

3. Within the confirmation page following registration

For more information on how to find your referral code, follow this guide.

Shoe Recycling

Do you have well-worn athletic shoes that you no longer need? The Morton Arboretum, in partnership with Dick Pond Athletics, will be accepting used athletic shoes for recycling and donating during packet pickup and onsite on race day. Visit Dick Pond during packet pickup times before the race or the shoe recycling tent near the Start/Finish line on race day to drop off your pair.

For more details on how and where these shoes are recycled, please visit this link.


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