Chat with Jan Seeley, co-director of the Illinois Marathon

Jan Seeley, the co-director of the Illinois Marathon, is answering questions about this year's event in an online chat with The News-Gazette.

Feel free to submit questions for her. She'll be with us starting at noon Friday.

Mike Howie (moderator) — 11:42 AM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Why do you start the race so early in the day?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:07 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

This is Jan Seeley, the co-director of the upcoming Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon.

Races start early to avoid heat and not tie up the cities longer than needed. Next question!

TimBorb — 11:45 AM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Where exactly is the start line? Materials say at St Mary’s Rd and 1st Street but last year it was a few “blocks” South of that. It might sound like splitting hairs to ask that question, but I’ve got several out-of-town (and thus unfamiliar with the area) friends coming, staying at various hotels. I want to coordinate a very easy-to-find meet-up landmark that won’t be too congested, but will be reasonably close to the starting line.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:12 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Ha! Start line is LITERALLY in the middle of St. Mary's/First St. Course changes moved the start line up from last year. Our maps -- check out the Web site -- are deadly accurate thanks to the awesome work of Jane Domier and Don Luman!

TimBorb — 11:45 AM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Which favors will be “served” at the 3 GU stations? If I can “pack light” , I want to! (My sensitive tummy makes it too risky to leave to chance though!)

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:13 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

THis is Jan:

Vanilla Bean
and I'm not sure after that. Any of these flavors work for your tummy?

TimBorb — 11:47 AM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Last year’s schwag, by any marathon of any size’s standards, was FANTASTIC! (Pull-over shirt & way-cool medal!) Are you going to top that for 2010?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:15 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Jan again:

We're all about Over the Top! Marathoners get long-sleeve tech shirt and a drawstring backpack. Halfers get short sleeved tech shirt + drawstring bag. Check out the volunteer page on the web site to see what the drawstring bags look like. Post race food: Awesome Biaggi's pasta again for the full/half + pizza from Papa John's and tons of fruit and dry food from IGA. Plus another KEEPER medal. Shall I go on?

kellycree — 12:05 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

i'm pretty sure i won't be able to finish the race in the 6 hours the roads are blocked off. will the race route still be clearly marked in order for me to finish out in the 7 hour time limit?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:17 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

from Jan

Our course team volunteers will be on the course until the cows come home, as they say. At 6 hours some of the police officers will start rolling up. After 6 hours, you'll just need to be a little more careful because more traffic will be on the course, but we won't leave you out there. Also, yes, course is marked and all turns flagged.
Have you guys checked out the Official Race Guide on the Web site? See link on homepage. Every runner also will be GIVEN a guide at the expo

carafinnegan — 12:07 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

I'm running the half marathon. Will there be a way for friends to track us live during the race, online?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:18 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

From Jan

Cara, sorry about that. One of the improvements we didn't get to this year. Hopefully next year. Verizon has stepped up to help us with some race hotline help this year and we hope to involve them more next year.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:20 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

This is a question from Marty Williams, submitted by e-mail:
For those watching the marathon, what are some encouraging words to yell? What should I not yell?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:28 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Don't yell, "You're almost there!" or "God, you look like crap!" That help, MARTY!!!!!!!!!

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:21 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

This question came via e-mail from Sue Anderson:
Are there any big names coming to run in the marathon? What were the winning times for the inaugural events?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:32 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Danville standout Kyle O'Brien is running the marathon. His PR is 2:15. watch for him to be a factor. The BIG names coming are Kathrine Switzer and Jean Driscoll, our two special guests. Both amazing women pioneers. Here them at the expo (ARC auditorium) at 2:00, visit them at the Marathon & Beyond booth, or hear them at the Pasta Feed, if you have a ticket. Which reminds me: we have THREE seatings this year: 4:00, 5:30, and 7;00. 5:30 seating is almost sold out. You can purchase a ticket through our Web site (go to registration page, which when you click to register, you can select "pasta ticket only") or you can try you luck buying a ticket at ARC on April 30. Last year's winning time....about 2:21.

bueek — 12:21 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Hi - great race last year and looking forward to another spectacular year!

The question I have is last year (and this year) the marathon runs down the road in front of our house. Information packets indicated that we would still be able to get to our drive, but we ran into many issues and ended up having to either wait or just park ways away and walk. I know it's par for the course, but it seems like one side of the road could be coned off since the runners by mile 16 or so don't need the entire width of the street...will they be coned off this year, or will there be better sharing of information among volunteers so people can still (safely for everyone involved) get in and out if needed? Thank you!!!!

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:27 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

from jan
I believe that after downtown Champaign, the marathoners ONLY use 1 lane the rest of the way (except the Maynard lake area, which has narrower roads). Cones will be used to mark the lane in which they should run. Hopefully, our course team will keep the runners where they belong.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:22 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Here's a question from Julie Mills:
At how many stops, and where, will they have gels on the course, and for the new marathon runners, how often should you do a gel during the race (and when should you start taking them)?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:25 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

From Jan
There are 17 hydration stations on the course and three GU stops (miles 9.5, 15, and 21). If you check out the course map on the Web site, there are symbols on the map showing the GU stops.
As for when to take them, that's a personal preference. If you have NOT been using GU in training, don't try it in the race for the first time. Personally, for a half marathon, I might take 1 late int he race. For a full, I might start after mile 14 and take them ever 30 to 40 mins. 1 GU with water.

Julie Wurth (moderator) — 12:27 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Can you talk about plans for the 1K Youth Run? When is each age group
scheduled to start, and what time to people need to be there? A friend
told us his 5-year-old had to wait an hour last year because her group
went last. I just wondered what to expect. Thanks!

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:36 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

from Jan:
Julie, the Busey Illinois Youth Run starts at 2:30. We have three age groups this year: 6 & under, 7 to 8, and 9 to 10. We run the races separately, and we do start with the younger kids first. We won't flight more than 75 kids at a time, so depending on the # of kids per age range, we might have several flights. Make sense? If you're doing the Youth Run, folks should arrive at Memorial Stadium by 2:00, if preregistered, by 1:00 or 1:30, if you still need to register.
Spectators and Youth Run folks must enter through the EAST side of the stadium this year. This is a change from last year. Kids can run with their parent/guardian. Every child receives a cool shirt, drawstring backpack, and kid-friendly snacks afterward (which they get in the Great West Hall). All kids get a really great finisher's medal too. Hope this helps.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:40 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

How many people are registered now for all the races?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:44 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

From Jan:
Thanks for asking. We have 14,104 right now. We still have some openings in the 5K. We opened up 500 additional spots in the 5K on Tuesday and they have not all been taken. Youth Run registration will continue through next week AND on race day. Youth Runners can register between 11:00 and 2:00.

Julie Wurth (moderator) — 12:46 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

How many spots are left in the 5K and how long do people have to register for it?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:49 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

from Jan.
We have 348 5K spots left. Registration for these additional 5K spots closes tonight at 11:59 p.m.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:51 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

This question was e-mailed by Babette Hiles:
I heard this marathon is a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. What does that mean? What do race officials have to do in order to qualify for that distinction?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 12:57 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

From Jan:
Yes, our race is a Boston qualifier, which means that an official course certifier has accurately measured and documented our course. It's a labor-intensive, detailed task that takes many hours. Mike Lindemann worked with the course certifier (same guy that certified Chicago) in the fall once the new course was finalized.

kellycree — 12:55 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

is the pasta vegan or will there be any vegan options?

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 01:01 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Biaggi's Pasta Feed options are meat lasagna or penne marinara, and we offer gluten-free pasta at the 7:00 p.m. seating (if you need gluten-free pasta, please email Melony Barrett at

So, we are covered for vegans, meat eaters, and gluten-free eaters.

That's it for me. Gotta run to do more race meetings. Thanks for sending your questions.

Jodi Heckel (moderator) — 01:07 PM on Fri, 04/23/2010

Thanks to Jan Seeley for giving us an hour of her time to answer questions about the marathon, and thanks everyone for your questions.
Check out the race website, at, for more information about the races.
Good luck to everyone running, and for those who aren't running, get out there and cheer the runners on!