What a great time I had at the inaugural Illinois Marathon! My good friend, Mark Knutson, who is the race director of the Fargo Marathon has been working along with good friend and Marathon & Beyond publisher Jan Seeley for two years on this event and what a great event they put on!
I arrived Thursday afternoon and that evening headed over to the expo site at the University of Illinois to meet many of the volunteers and to eat supper. My good friends Bart Yasso and GP Pearlberg were also invited speakers, it was fun catching up with them! Friday morning got up and did a run on the treadmill as it was raining. After a quick breakfast, Bart, GP, and myself headed over to the expo and spent the day in the M & B booth selling books, signing race numbers, chatting with folks, and taking pictures. I gave my talk at 6:30 that evening to a packed house at the pasta dinner. By the time I got back to my hotel I was whooped and went right to bed!
Saturday morning the rain had moved on and it was a nice cool clear day to run! GP was the main announcer for the race and Bart and I through our 2 cents worth every now and then. At 8 the race went off on schedule with the 5K following about 15 minutes later. Between the Marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5k, and kids run, they had over 9,000 runners!
All the races ended at the 50 yard line of the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium football field. I stood by the finish line cheering people on until it was time for me to leave for the airport and my trip back home to Austin.
This is a super event that will continue to grow and grow, I would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a great spring marathon!
Thanks to Mark Knutson, Jan Seeley, and the wonderful people of Champaign/Urbana for having me there for a fun weekend, keep up the great work!