News Item | PAWS Chicago

TEAM PAWS: Make Your Miles Matter

Oct 01, 2019

Peak past the curtain with the mastermind behind TEAM PAWS Chicago, Carrie Cihasky, to see how a group of dedicated athletes keeps our operation running smoothly. In this interview, we discuss TEAM PAWS, charity in conjunction with athletic events, the perks of joining, and how to get involved. You’ll also learn how to get a free massage! (Hint: you may have to run a marathon.)

What exactly is TEAM PAWS Chicago, and how does it support the PAWS Chicago No Kill Mission?

Carrie Cihasky: TEAM PAWS Chicago is our athletic fundraising team that benefits PAWS CHICAGO. We have over 550 members representing 30 states and nine countries. They’ve all made the commitment to ‘Make Their Miles Matter’ by supporting PAWS Chicago!

A lot of the runners train with their own pets, but one of our teammates comes to the Lincoln Park Adoption Center to run with the dogs in the shelter waiting to be adopted! He even trained one of the dogs to do an agility course before the dog was adopted out!

We will be celebrating the 15th Anniversary of TEAM PAWS Chicago in 2020. In that time, our members have run in more than 75 marathons across the globe, racking up over 140,000 miles—and every single one helped save a homeless or at-risk pet

How is TEAM PAWS Chicago different than other charity options for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?

CC: TEAM PAWS Chicago is one of the largest charity teams overall and the largest animal welfare team in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Because of that, we are able to offer additional support in fundraising, training, and mentorship that other charities can’t. 

We also offer unique race weekend accommodations, like our annual PAWSta Dinner, and our Pre and Post Race Party at the Congress Hotel, which is directly across the street from the marathon’s start line. Our Pre and Post Race Parties offer indoor amenities for our runners and their guests. They get perks like private gear check, indoor restrooms, food & beverage, massages, a live DJ and more!

How can non-runners get involved?

CC: TEAM PAWS Chicago offers options for all fitness levels and goals. 

For non- or new-runners, our Athlete’s Choice and Shake Your Tail, Couch to 5K Programs are great options.  Our Shake Your Tail program includes specific training and support to help novice runners complete our 5K.  

Members participating in Athlete’s Choice select their own athletic event of any kind (even non-running sports such as golf, swimming, or biking), while fundraising for PAWS Chicago.

Can you tell us about the perks of joining TEAM PAWS Chicago?

CC: Well, we think helping save pets is pretty cool. And then there’s the merch. TEAM PAWS members get:

  • Official TEAM PAWS Chicago navy singlet
  • TEAM PAWS Chicago Fan Club Shirt and Cheer items for their biggest supporter
  • TEAM PAWS Chicago Finisher’s Medal and Certificate
  • FREE entry into the PAWS Chicago 5K Walk/Run For Their Lives
  • Personalized fundraising page and tools
  • Discounted training from our partners and coaches
  • Training support and mentorship
  • Social Events, Fun Runs and more!

Plus, those participating in our larger races, like the Chicago Marathon, will receive additional perks!  All members who fundraise over their minimum commitment also qualify for incentive prizes such as TEAM PAWS Chicago shirts, jackets, hats, and more!

Click here to learn more about or sign up for TEAM PAWS Chicago! Not an athlete? Not a problem. You can support the team by simply donating to the cause here.