Illinois Marathon FAQ
If you've been paying any attention, you should know by now that thousands of runners will be on the streets of Champaign-Urbana on Saturday for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon races.
The race organizers and police have been telling residents to expect traffic delays near the course and to plan taking alternate routes around town if they need to get somewhere.
Here are the answers to questions you might have about Saturday's races.
How many runners are participating?
There were 14,286 registered runners in the marathon, half-marathon, 5K and youth run as of early Thursday morning. Entries are still being accepted for the youth run.
What streets will be closed, and how long will they be closed?
The first half of the marathon and the half-marathon are run primarily in Urbana. Most streets along the route in Urbana will be closed to traffic for a couple of hours, beginning about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, said Sgt. Scott Friedlein of the Champaign Police Department. They'll be reopened after the last runners have gone through.
Marathon runners will go down Green Street twice during the first half of the race. Runners will be on Green Street between First Street in Champaign and Race Street in Urbana. Police expect to reopen Green Street by 11:30 or so Saturday morning, Friedlein said.
Only the full marathon will go into Champaign, west of campus. Most of the Champaign streets will have limited access to traffic, rather than being closed altogether. Runners will be on a designated portion of the street and share it with traffic.
There will be new four-way stops on Saturday at intersections where there are no stop signs now.
Most of the route will be clear by 2 p.m., Friedlein said, and barricades should be removed by 3 p.m.
How do I get around town if I need to?
Plan ahead. Look at the course map and the beltway map, Friedlein said.
The organizers of the Illinois Marathon created a traffic beltway map, of roads around the perimeter of Champaign-Urbana that are not affected by the marathon route and can be used to get across town.
Although drivers will have to go a little out of their way, it will be safer, Friedlein said.
Will MTD bus service be disrupted?
Several bus routes will be rerouted due to the marathon, and riders should expect delays.
All downtown Urbana routes will be moved and will operate on Illinois Street.
The main downtown Urbana stop will be at Broadway and Illinois.
Specific information on rerouting is available on the MTD's website, or by calling 384-8188.
How will police and fire departments handle emergencies around the marathon?
A command center will handle any emergencies on the marathon route, Friedlein said. Race organizers have made provisions to detour and reroute runners in case of an emergency such as a fire.
Friedlein will be in a plane, and he'll be able to monitor traffic flow and report any backups and problems at intersections.
What happens if there's bad weather?
There are emergency plans to clear the race course if there is dangerous weather such as lightning or a tornado. Race organizers will be in contact with the National Weather Service throughout the race.
Race organizers are asking residents along the course to open their homes if there are runners who need shelter.
"We don't want them to have to run 13 miles back to Memorial Stadium to seek shelter," Friedlein said.
Who is cleaning up the race course?
Reynolds Towing is coordinating cleanup.
University Laboratory High School Athletic Director Sally Walker recruited about 225 volunteers from the school for cleanup duties. The volunteers will be placed around the race course to pick up discarded clothing and trash. Discarded clothing will be loaded onto a truck immediately after the race and donated to Goodwill.
Following that truck will be a donated garbage truck from ABC Sanitary that will pick up trash and recyclables. Then race organizers will pick up all equipment, including tables from the water stations, the signs, and the mile marker balloons.
What is the economic benefit of having the Illinois Marathon in C-U?
The estimated economic impact for Champaign-Urbana this year is $7.8 million, said Jayne DeLuce, executive director of the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Will the Illinois Marathon donate money to any community organizations?
Last year, the race organizers donated $10,000 from race proceeds to Developmental Services Center, which provides services for people with disabilities from Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Piatt counties.
The organization will also receive a donation from this year's race, as will Larkin's Place at the Y, which will be an all-inclusive recreation space for children with and without disabilities.
The Illinois Marathon also has five charity running partners for which runners can raise pledges.
Runners could pledge money when they registered for the races to Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation, Special Olympics Illinois or Frances Nelson Health Center.
And $1 of every entry fee for the youth run will go to the C-U Schools Foundation.