Illinois Marathon '10 preview: C-U there!
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 10:35pm
April 30 update: The list of Uni students participating as runners in the half-marathon has been corrected. Senior Elizabeth Russell and freshman Brianna Hajek have been aded to the list; senior Brittany Scheid, who had been on the original list, is out with a stress fracture.
According to Sally Walker, athletic director at Uni High, about 220 Uni volunteers are willing to give up a few hours of their Saturday.
"I'm actually pretty excited about the opportunity and very pleased with the support that we've had — the number of parents, students, and teachers who have stepped forward to volunteer to help out," said Walker.
Pre-race events will begin Friday, with a health expo, pasta feed, and packet pickup.
"This is a great opportunity for all of our students to be able to compete in this race and become great athletes," said Walker.
Junior Miles Ross will be running the marathon. Senior Elizabeth Russell, juniors Buck Walsh, Charlie Newman-Johnson and Eli Hyman, sophomore Dax Earl, and freshmen Brianna Hajek and Sarah Vaughen will be running the half-marathon.
"There's a lot of people around, so the atmosphere's nice, and you get to end at the stadium, which is a lot of fun," said Hyman.
The marathon will start at Assembly Hall and finish on the 50-yard line inside Memorial Stadium.
The courses for the half-marathon, marathon, and 5K will be slightly modified to minimize runner congestion and to ensure safety. The routes will incorporate city streets, parks and sections of Champaign and Urbana.
Medals, shirts, food and other activities will come after the completion of the marathon.
This year's marathon is expected to involve even more people than last year's April 11th marathon, which fell on Easter weekend. About 9,600 people participated in a full marathon, a half marathon, a marathon relay, a 5K, a youth 1K, and a wheelchair half-marathon.
Because of this year's demand, marathon organizers opened up 600 more spots in the half-marathon, from an original 6,000 spots. The marathon was not likely to reach its 3,000-runner limit, so organizers felt the half-marathon could accommodate more runners.
More than 300 teams have registered for the marathon relay.
Much-needed volunteers from the community have stepped up to accommodate this influx of participants.
Walker wanted Uni High to give back to the local running community, which has helped for many years with the Uni’s annual 5K Twin Cities Twosome race. The Uni community answered Walker's call for volunteers.
"I'll be supervising, which also means I'll keep them from doing anything illegal while they're picking up stuff; and if I find anything worth confiscating, then of course, it belongs to me," joked history teacher Bill Sutton, who will volunteer as a crew chief.
Other members of the Uni community will volunteer as a family activity.
"My husband Matt and I both volunteered, and we plan to bring our kids along, so it should be a fun family activity," said English teacher Elizabeth Majerus, whose kids clapped as the marathon pass by her house last year. "We'll hopefully help teach our kids the benefits of lending a helping hand."
The marathon needs at least 2,500 volunteers to put on the event safely. That includes people to man the water stations on the course, help control traffic at intersections on the race course, and do post-race cleanup.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, who hasn't already signed up, can go to the official Web site and click on “Volunteers” on the bar at the top of the page. You can select the job and shift. All volunteers will receive a T-shirt and a string bag; some will need to attend a pre-race training session.