The entries for all the races at the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon were up 62 percent over the same time last year, as of the first of January.
And by the end of January, the numbers are likely to increase dramatically, with an increase in entry fees after Jan. 31. Last year, nearly 3,000 runners registered during the month of January, said Joe Seeley, who oversees the marathon website and also keeps a spreadsheet of entry numbers for the races that he updates weekly.
As of Jan. 1, there were 5,664 runners entered in the races scheduled for April 29 and 30, compared with 3,503 at the same time last year.
There are several reasons for the increase, Seeley said.
First is the continuing interest in the half-marathon. There are 2,656 runners entered in the half as of Jan. 1, compared to 1,916 at the same time last year.
Also, with the new I-Challenge – run the 5K on Friday night, then the half or full marathon on Saturday – some runners are registering for two events. There are 1,244 runners registered in the 5K, compared with 314 at the same time last year.
Finally, a new 10K race was added this year. There are 361 10K runners registered so far.
That means the races that reached their cap on number of entrants last year – the half-marathon and the relay – will likely do so even earlier this year, Seeley said.
To register, go to the race website at www.illinoismarathon.com.