If you’re planning on running some 5K races this summer, you could be eligible for an All Area 5K Championship Circuit.
The championship circuit includes four races, with the first this weekend at Gifford.
The race circuit was the idea of Tim Weitekamp of Rantoul, who helps coordinate that city’s Rockin the Runway 5K.
“I think all the races benefit by supporting each other,” Weitekamp said. “The concept of putting those four races together and having a championship ... felt like it would grow all four of these races.
“The championship circuit is going to be motivation for (runners) to come run in Rantoul or Gifford or Fisher, where they might not have done that before,” he continued.
In addition to the Gifford and Rantoul races, on June 25 and July 2 respectively, the other 5Ks in the championship circuit are the Knights of Columbus 5K in Paxton in July 4 and the Fisher Fair 5K on July 16.
Participants in the championship circuit must pay a $5 circuit entry fee (in addition to the race entry fees) and run three of the four races. Their cumulative times (the best three times, if a runner does all four races) are used to determine the champions by age group and overall champions.
“We were looking for something different or interesting that we could add to help promote the smaller races that are up this way,” said Chris Kaler, executive director of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce, who organizes the Rockin the Runway race.
Kaler said he’ll coordinate the race results for all the circuit runners. They’ll be posted on the Paxton race website, and on the Rantoul site as well. Kaler is hoping runners will watch the results and they’ll spur some competition between circuit participants.
If the circuit is successful, Weitekamp said he’d like to add some races to it in a few years — possibly a race sponsored by Second Wind Running Club in Champaign and one sponsored by Kennekuk Road Runners in Vermilion County.
For more information about the All Area 5K Championship Circuit and each of the races, click here.