- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
- Road Race
- Event Website
See more of our race!
Overall I had an amazing experience running the Illinois Marathon. In all honestly, my "amazing" experience is partly influenced by my BQ on the course, but even without that, there is very little that I can to complain about. Reading the other reviews about the race, it seems like usually the race actually has unusually warm weather, however, we had rain wind and thunderstorms. That's spring racing in the midwest for you you. So, given the weather, the race officials were very clear from the beginning that the race could be called off at any point, and that safety of everyone involved was paramount. The race WAS in face cancelled mid race, and a police car came by announcing that the race had been cancelled. My only complaint about this was that they should have also been announcing whether runners could continue running at their own risk (or something like that), as it was very confusing what would happen if you continued to run. (I did, and apparently my time counted, but that was not clear).
However, let's back up to the beginning. The expo was not very exciting, but about what i would expect from a small race. The t-shirt is fine, but my problem with all race shirts is that they are t-shirts. I wish races would give out tank tops! Race morning was well organized: lots of parking, porta potties, and even a coffee/bagel bar for everyone (volunteers and spectators too!). I did not partake, and likely many racers did not since most people have their own go-to pre-race meal, but i thought that it was nice that it was available for spectators and volunteers.
The course was well marked. It had a lot of turns, but I think this is just what happens in a residential race. It was quite pretty through the campus and neighborhoods of champaign-urbana. There was a scenic few miles through some sort of park/preserve which I would have found very pretty, but it was almost single track making it difficult to control your pace (and hard to pass if you wanted to get by anyone). The water stations were well staffed with plenty of gatorade as well.
Finally, even though the weather was awful, there were tons of cheerful volunteers and spectators throughout the course. I wish we could have enjoyed running into the stadium and getting to take post race pictures there, but the weather forced everyone inside immediately. Overall, I would certainly recommend this marathon to someone who wants an easy first marathon or a great opportunity to BQ. It is fast, flat, and relatively well run. If you want frills (big expo, spectator lined streets) this is not the race for you. Also: the finishers blanket is pretty awesome! Especially this year because we were freezing!!