Marathon still needs volunteers, but most jobs covered
The Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon still needs a few dozen course volunteers, but most of those jobs are now covered.
As of Friday afternoon, the race still needed 11 people to work at specific intersections along the course, and 25 more volunteers to be placed into course jobs as necessary on race day, said Mary Anderson, the volunteer coordinator for the race.
The course volunteers are the people posted at intersections along the course to ensure the safety of runners during the race.
Almost two weeks ago, race officials put out a call for more volunteers. The race needed 250 more people to man the course, or the race would not be able to go on.
The race needs a total of about 450 course volunteers for the 5K race on the evening of April 29, and the marathon, half-marathon, relay, 10K and youth run on April 30. "People really stepped up. We sounded the alarm and they heard us," Anderson said, adding that one day last week there were 50 to 60 people who signed up as course volunteers.
"It's important these spots get filled or there is no race," she continued. "We really do appreciate it. It's impossible without every single one of these volunteers."
The first training session for course volunteers was held Thursday night, and 75 people attended, Anderson said.
"We thought that was a really good turnout," she said, noting the first session is usually the least-attended. "That is a really good indication that volunteers have been communicated with successfully and some of the lessons learned from the first two years are getting through. The volunteers are really ready to step up."
Training is mandatory for the course volunteers. For the first time this year, the training sessions have been separated for volunteers in Champaign and Urbana.
"There really is a different dynamic. The half-marathon goes through Urbana (along with the marathon), so the streets are closed, where in Champaign there is some pulsing of traffic through," Anderson said.
Upcoming training sessions for Urbana course volunteers will be April 11, 12 and 18, and training sessions for Champaign course volunteers will be April 14 and 19.
In addition to the remaining course volunteer jobs, there are about 75 other volunteer jobs still to be filled, Anderson said. The other jobs where the race still needs volunteers include parking, especially from 5 to 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30, and for the youth run on the afternoon of April 30.
There are 11 spots still available to help with parking on marathon day, Anderson said. "That's going to set the pace for traffic in town, to keep cars moving into correct parking lots."
She emphasized the importance of the parking volunteers: "As soon as cars get backed up on St. Mary's Road and Neil Street, the whole town will feel it."
There are 19 volunteers needed to help with the start and finish line at the youth run, including organizing the different flights of runners and matching up runners with their guardians after the race.
And there are a few spots left to be filled for setting up the race expo on Thursday afternoon, April 28.
Anderson is hoping that next year volunteers will begin to sign up earlier.
To volunteer for the race, go to http://www.illinoismarathon.com and click on the "Volunteers" tab at the top of the page. There is a link for "course team" volunteer jobs and a link for other volunteer jobs. The volunteer page also includes specific information about training sessions.