Jodi Heckel

Jodi Heckel

The Starting Line: Upgraded digs aiding UI wheelchair athletes

The training room where the University of Illinois wheelchair athletes worked out until recently was once part of the women's locker room. The converted space had room for six or seven rollers but little more, becoming so cramped when it was full of athletes working out that their everyday wheelchairs took up all the available floor space.

Here are your 2014 'Forty Under 40'

Central Illinois Business magazine, published by The News-Gazette, has announced the winners of its seventh annual Forty Under 40 Awards.

Updated: 'Run or Dye' moved to October, Rantoul

RANTOUL — The Run or Dye event that was to be held next month in Champaign has been rescheduled for Oct. 11 in Rantoul.

The event will be held at the Rantoul airport on that day, said airport manager Rune Duke, and it will benefit the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

That bad day in Boston

Like me and many other runners around the country, Hal Higdon followed the 2013 Boston Marathon online — watching the elite racers and tracking the progress of friends who were running the race. And then sitting glued to the computer or the TV, watching coverage of the bombings at last year's race and desparately waiting to hear of the whereabouts of those friends there.

The Starting Line: Four new things to try in 2014

Try something new in the New Year.

You might love your regular runs or bike rides or Crossfit sessions, but trying something a little different can help keep you from getting bored and challenge you by building your fitness in a different way. And you may end up falling in love with a new sport or activity.

Urbana Park District's Free Fitness Week starts Monday

URBANA — The first full week of January is Free Fitness Week at the Urbana Park District.

5K gets new name, format

A longtime 5K relay has a new name and format this year, but it will still benefit local charities.

The Not Your Average Joe Race replaces the Twin City Twosome, organized for 21 years by Human Kinetics.

Wheelchair athletes at the University of Illinois remain on the fast track

Spectators were crowding along the sides of the road next to the start line of the Boston Marathon. The wheelchair participants were lined up, and the top racers in the world were being introduced.

And Aaron Pike was pretty pumped up for his first Boston Marathon.

The Starting Line: Two who met the resolution challenge

Call it a birthday resolution.

When Tony Hillen turned 29 shortly before Christmas 2011, he resolved he would not be overweight when he hit 30. He weighed 295 pounds, and he set a goal of losing 100 pounds during the next year.

When he weighed in a couple of weeks ago, as he was about to turn 30, he'd lost more than 115 pounds.

Time for a new goal.

Volunteer jobs available for marathon

When the call went out for volunteers in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon's first year, in 2009, Nick Zazal responded.

He and a group of co-workers from Krannert Center for the Performing Arts helped with traffic control around Memorial Stadium on race day.

-