It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three short years since the first Illinois Marathon, but already it has become a signature event in Champaign-Urbana and Central Illinois.
The countdown is on to the marathon, which is actually several events taking place over two days (April 27-28). The 5K will take place Friday night, April 27. The 10K, marathon (26.2 miles) and half marathon/half wheelchair marathon (13.1) courses will be set up for race day on Saturday morning, April 28. The weekend is capped off by the Busey Youth Run on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
There are many ways to get involved with the marathon, even if you are not running:
1. Be a spectator and cheer on the runners. See below for where, when and how.
2. There’s still a need for race day volunteers.
3. Attend the post-race street fest, the 27th-Mile Celebrate Victory Bash hosted by the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 28. It is held right outside Memorial Stadium on Kirby Avenue, between First and Fourth Streets. The party will include free live music, and there will be inflatables as well as food available for purchase from some of our local faves (including The Crave Truck).
If you want to avoid the marathon, that’s fine too. Here is a map to show you the best way to get around town without getting into marathon traffic.
Below we have the 411 on the best places to watch the events, and how to cheer on the runners. Here is a great map showing you where to park and where the races start/finish in the area around Assembly Hall, Research Park, and Memorial Stadium.
Here’s What Every Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Spectator Needs to Know*:
4 Best Places to Watch the Race
• Start Line— runners will start the Marathon/Marathon Relay/Half Marathon at 7:00 a.m.; 10K runners will start at 7:35 a.m. You’ll be able to cheer on a sea of people! The 5K is Friday night at 6:45 p.m.
• Green Street—Every runner (except the 10Kers) will run at least from First Street to Wright Street on Green; it’s the start of their second mile. Marathoners will return to Green Street for their 13th mile.
• Finish Line—The first runners will enter Memorial Stadium by 7:50 a.m. (wheelchair half entrants) and they’ll keep coming for hours, so find a spot in the stands on the east side and enjoy the show! (Spectators should enter the stadium through the Great East Hall). The first marathoner will finish between 9:15 and 9:20. A rush of marathoners will enter the stadium at 11:00 a.m. The average half-marathoner will finish around 9:00 a.m.
• Anywhere—If the route runs close to your neighborhood, walk out to the course and cheer! Organize a marathon lawn party for you and your neighbors to kick off your summer in style. You can also follow the bevy of entertainment scattered around the courses, including the Elvis impersonator at Washington/Philo in Urbana (half/full marathon course) or listen to the Sugar Prophets in downtown Champaign (marathon course).
3 Ways to Support the Runners
• Bring something that makes noise, such as a bell, horn, or boom box.
• Wear something that stands out, such as a colorful wig or a costume.
• Make a sign. Cheer on your friend (“Go Jill!”) or cheer everyone (“Way To Go,” “You Can Do It!”). If you don’t want to make a sign, you can pick one up at the Health and Fitness Expo with a donation to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.
2 Things to Yell at Runners
• “You’re doing great!”
• “You’re looking good!”
1 Thing to Avoid on Race Day
• Don’t shout, “The _____ is just up ahead.” To a runner struggling, “just up ahead” means within the next 10 feet. No matter how close you are to a hydration station or the finish line, you’re still too far away.
*reprinted with permission
What are your plans for Race Day?