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Fall Color 5K Run and Walk

Satisfy your inner champion on a scenic, rolling course through the fresh autumn air.

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Help kick off the Fall Color Festival with the annual 5K on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Satisfy your inner champion on the Arboretum’s scenic, rolling course through the fresh autumn air. Celebrate your finish with live music and a complimentary beer (participants age 21+) at the post-race party. Participation supports the Arboretum’s work to plant and protect trees.

On-site participants can choose from a Shotgun Start or Open Start. Participants may also choose a Virtual 5K. View the Registration Options section to learn more.

Highlights of the On-site 5K:

  • commemorative race shirts
  • B-tag™ timing strip
  • recovery food
  • post-race party with live music
  • one complimentary post-race beer
  • free admission to explore our 1,700 acres, including the new exhibit Human+Nature, the Children’s Garden, Scarecrow Trail, and Fall Color Festival
  • awards for the top three males and females overall and age division winners (only available for participants in the Shotgun Start)
  • finish line photos synced to your race results page
  • walkers welcome!


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Registration Options

Participants have three registration options: Shotgun Start, Open Start, or Virtual 5K. Review the following information to know which race to register for.

  • What is a shotgun start?

    A shotgun start allows all participants to cross the start line at the same time. Participants will organize themselves by the pace (i.e., 6-minute mile, 7-minute mile, 8-minute mile, and so on). At 8:00 a.m. an airhorn will mark the start of the race and all runners and walkers will make their way across the start line. This race option will award the top three male and female finishers overall and top runners in each age bracket with a medal.

    Important information about the Shotgun Start 5K:

    Participants must cross the start line by 8:07 a.m. If you’re late you will be moved to the open start race at 9:30 a.m.

    Medals will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers overall and in each age bracket. The top three overall winners, male and female, are determined by gun time.

  • What is an open start?

    An open start allows participants to start the 5K anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Participants in this race will line up single file to cross the start line.

    Note: This is a fun run/walk and the top finishers will not receive a medal. If you want to compete for a medal register for the Shotgun Start.

    Important information about the Open Start 5K:

    Participants must cross the start line by 10:00 a.m. and the finish line by 11:00 a.m.

    Participants do not need to select a specific start time. You can start anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

    Participants will not receive awards for this race since everyone is starting at different times. If you want to compete for a medal register for the Shotgun Start.

  • What is a 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.

    What’s included with the registration cost?

    Men’s or women’s sized race shirt mailed to your home.

    Free guest ticket to run at The Morton Arboretum. Information about reserving your free ticket will be in your confirmation email.

    Important information about the Virtual 5K:

    Results must be uploaded on the Virtual Race Results page by the Monday after the on-site race.

    Participants can choose to pick up their race shirt at Dick Pond Athletics or have it mailed during the registration process.

    Can I run my Virtual 5K at the Arboretum?

    Yes, but you must reserve a timed-entry pass or guest ticket prior to visiting. Please note, you will not be able to run or walk on the East Side Roads during the scheduled Fall Color 5K. 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.

  • Pick up your race shirt and bib at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle from September 23rd to September 30th.

  • For an additional $10 fee participants who select this option during registration before the cutoff date will have their race shirt and bib mailed to their home.

    Packets will be brought to the post office two weeks prior to the race.

    Please note, all packets will be mailed individually. If registering multiple participants in the same household, packets may arrive on different days.

  • For an additional $10 fee participants who select this option during registration can pick up their race shirt and bib at The Morton Arboretum on race day from the pickup tent near the start/finish line.

Race Day Information

The following race day information applies to participants in the Shotgun Start and Open Start 5K events at The Morton Arboretum.

  • This applies only to participants in the Shotgun Start.

    Awards will be given to the top three overall male and top three overall female finishers, as well as the top three men and three women 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 and female winners do not qualify for a medal in their age bracket. The top three overall winners, male and female, are determined by gun time.  Age division winners are determined by chip time.

    Awards can be picked up at 8:45 a.m. at the Packet Pickup Tent.

  • Gear check is available for free from 7:00 a.m. to 11:15 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.

  • Spectators can cheer on friends and family at the start/finish line. Spectators receive free entry if they arrive prior to 9:30 a.m. Spectators arriving after 9:30 a.m. will need to reserve general admission passes.

  • Strollers must start in the back during the Shotgun Start Race for the safety of participants.

    Strollers are fully permitted during the Open Start 5K. This race allows for participants to spread out, making it safer for all participants when a stroller is on the course.

  • Large digital clocks will be stationed at miles 1 and 2. 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 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.

Race Results

On-site participants can view their results on Athlinks following the race. A QR code will be placed on your race bib for easy access.

Virtual participants can view their results on RunSignup.


Referral Program

New 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 October 1st. 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 $25 in the Arboretum Store

5 Referrals- 2 Any Day General Admission Tickets ($32 Value)

12 Referrals- Two (2) tickets to IllumiBrew on Thursday, November 17 ($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, click here.

Shirt Image and Sizing

Athletic 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. Visit the shoe recycling tent near the Start/Finish line on race day to drop off your pair.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

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