News Local/State

Annual Illinois Marathon Kicks Off In Champaign-Urbana


This weekend marks the sixth year that thousands of runners will race along the streets of Champaign-Urbana in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, which kicks off at 7 AM on Saturday near the State Farm Center.

As of this week, nearly 2,100 runners had entered for the full marathon.

The Illinois Marathon also includes several other events, from a half-marathon down to Friday’s 5K Run and Walk. Marathon co-director Jan Seely said many people who started out as volunteers for the event, are inspired to enter a race that fits their comfort level.

“Because we offer that ladder of events, we see people do the 5K for a couple of years, and, ‘Hey, maybe I can do that 10K,’” Seely said. “And of course, we throw the I-Challenge and, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll do both of those’. So, it doesn’t surprise us that more and more people from the community are getting involved.”

The “I-Challenge” invites runners to run the 5-K race on Friday night, and then the 10-K, half-marathon or full marathon on Saturday morning.

Some of the athletes competing this year have won marathons in other parts of the world, from Indianapolis to Pisa, Italy. But Seely says they measure the Illinois Marathon’s success by the individuals and families they bring in at all athletic levels, and how good a time they have.

The Marathon airs live Saturday from 7-10AM on WCIA/Champaign, WMBD/Peoria, and WTVO/Rockford. The 5-K Walk/Run is Friday 7:30pn. The full Marathon, Relay and Half Marathon all start at 7 AM. The 10-K Run/Walk begins at 7:40 AM. The Youth Run is at 2:30 PM.