More runners means need for more volunteers for Illinois Marathon
CHAMPAIGN — The second Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon set for next Saturday is proving so popular that organizers need more help, fast, to cover intersections.
“We have had a number of cancellations for course guards and we are back in the same boat we were in last year. We are needing about 70 volunteers,” Champaign police Sgt. Scott Friedlein said Friday.
“They’re imperative. We have to have them, especially since we have so many more runners than we did last year,” he said.
As of Friday, about 14,000 runners had signed up for all the races: the 5K, half-marathon, marathon relay and the marathon. That’s about 4,300 more than were on the course last year.
”We want to make sure everything works safely. That’s the important thing. We have 290 locations that have to be covered and many require multiple volunteers. We’ve done well to this point but to be 70 short is a big concern for us,” said Friedlein.
Volunteers may go to the race website to sign up to help in any number of capacities although the largest need presently is for course guards. There are still about 13 “non-course” jobs that need to be filled as well.
Friedlein said there is a training session for those volunteering for traffic control Sunday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., U. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and drawstring backpack along with their training. Those unable to attend the Sunday training session are asked to contact traffic control coordinator Bonnie McElwee at 217-344-4160.
Volunteers will assist the 60 police officers from Champaign, Urbana, University of Illinois. Illinois State Police and Champaign County sheriff’s office who will be at major intersections.
“Clearly, our biggest need is on traffic safety,” he said.
The 5K starts at 7 a.m. and the half-marathon, marathon relay and marathon start at 7:30 a.m.
Jan Seeley, co-director of the race, said as of Friday there were just over 2,200 volunteers signed up for all aspects of the race.