Top of the Morning, April 21, 2014: From the archives

Top of the Morning, April 21, 2014: From the archives

In February 2008, The News-Gazette's sports section carried a story about plans for a marathon to be held in Champaign-Urbana the following year.

On page B-6.

Come on, now, did you know what was going to happen back then?

"This community is absolutely ideal for a first-class marathon event," said a statement from the organizers. "From the University of Illinois to the cities' mayors, the process has been very positive. Couple that with the support of a strong running community, and I am confident that the Illinois Marathon has the potential to be one of the best new running events in the country."

It was more than a year before the first Illinois Marathon actually happened, in April 2009. Here we are, with the sixth one coming right up.

Running is not for me. It's not ever going to be for me. But I have friends who are runners, and the dedication that is apparent from what they post about their training, all year — especially in winter — is truly impressive. (I sometimes get tempted: hey, I could do the 5K next year. And then I wake up.)

And then there are the people who give up a large chunk of that weekend. They monitor intersections, hand out water, cheer for people they don't know. They don't have to do that.

There are concerns, every year. This year, a large chunk of First Street was still torn up a few days ago, but we were assured that would be fixed.

Last year: Boston.

The first year, some people who live inside the perimeter of the course were surprised to find themselves blocked in, unable to get across the route for a few hours.

Some folks don't like when the event is the same weekend as Ebertfest, which is the case again this year. I don't mind. The energy in town seems palpable when that happens.

At, you'll find photos from the first event. While I was picking them, I thought, hey, I could do the 5K next year.


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