Planning to run? Race registration closes today
However, officials say they're considering allowing walk-up sign-ups on race day this year
If you haven't signed up for your favorite Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon race yet, the clock is ticking.
The marathon website's countdown shows a little more than 10 days left until the start of the big race on April 26, but registration officially closes at 11:59 p.m. today.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, 18,485 people had registered for the six races on April 25-26, according to race director Jan Seeley.
The 5K had surpassed its original cap of 6,000, with 6,082 runners or walkers, and the limit was pushed to 6,500. The 10K was almost full, with 2,726 runners entered for 3,000 spots.
The half-marathon, which draws the most interest, had 6,224 entries as of Monday evening, but that's behind last year's total, Seeley said. The full marathon had 2,061 participants so far.
"The 5K is probably going to be our biggest race," she said.
Last year's races drew 20,735 runners.
Seeley said registration had been ahead of 2013's pace until about mid-March, when the numbers fell 300 to 400 behind.
"That's about where we've been each week," she said.
The harsh winter interrupted training for many runners this year, Seeley said.
"Some people either didn't get it in at all, so they're not in shape to do any race, or they've waited to see what their training was going to look like before they committed to a race," she said.
She's seen more runners this year slide down to a shorter race after registering — marathoners opting for the half-marathon instead, half-marathoners moving to the 10K, etc.
While it's unlikely the numbers will surpass the 2013 totals by tonight, race organizers are considering a late registration period.
Last year, the 5K and 10K could have easily drawn 7,000 and 3,000 runners, respectively, if walk-up registration had been available, she said.
Race organizers will look at the numbers later this week and decide whether to reopen online registration for select races or take walk-up registration at the Expo next week, she said.
So if you miss tonight's deadline, check the website again Thursday for more information.
For the youth run, online registration continues for another week, until 11:59 p.m. April 22, and walk-up registration will be taken the weekend of the race.
For those curious about the huge mound of dirt along the race route on First Street, just north of Memorial Stadium: University of Illinois officials have assured race organizers that the street will reopen this Friday.
Construction crews are working on an underground detention basin to alleviate flooding in that area, which will be home to a new residence hall, Campus Recreation playing fields and a Marching Illini practice field. Robyn Deterding, director of Campus Recreation, said construction fences on First should be removed late in the day Friday, a week ahead of the 5K.
Seeley said numerous runners have emailed her complaining that the route maps must be wrong because they showed the race going down First.
"All the roads will be in good shape; all the potholes will be filled," she said.
On your mark...
Registration for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon closes at 11:59 p.m. today. Here's where the runner count stood at the close of business Monday, compared with last year's totals:
|Marathon relay teams||214||214|