Printer racing to get 2019 Illinois Marathon shirts ready

Printer racing to get 2019 Illinois Marathon shirts ready

URBANA — Race shirt collectors can look forward to a piece of Illinois history for the 2019 Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon weekend, which promises to be a big one.

T-shirts for the marathon and associated races are different every year at Campus Ink. The first to be screened-printed this time around: the 5K.

For this spring's 5K memento, you'll see a running shoe in the shape of Illinois, wrapped around the state's name.

"Each race has a unique keepsake shirt, color, style and design," said veteran races co-director Jan Seeley.

It's looking to be a banner year, she said

"We recently went over 6,000 registrations. We are 7 percent ahead of last year at the same time," she said.

As of Friday, here's what Seeley's numbers looked like:

— 954 marathon registrations.

— 1,869 half-marathon registrations.

— 76 marathon relay teams (four people each).

— 885 10K registrations.

— 2,017 5K registrations.

— 92 youth run registrations.

That ground-breaking 5K shirt gets rave reviews from one perennially well-dressed runner, Jeff Kohmstedt, who rounds the course dressed as Abe Lincoln.

"The running shoe in the shape of the state of Illinois is really creative, and I can't wait to see folks running around town in them," said Kohmstedt, who plans to run this year's half-marathon.

Workers at Campus Ink, formerly Campus Sportswear, design, print and distribute the T-shirts and were busy this week with lots of blue ink for the 5K.

Campus Ink co-owner Steven Farag, a University of Illinois alum, said that between now and race season, about 20,000 shirts will be screen-printed by race time, 7,000 for the 5K alone, the numbers adjusting as early April approaches.

Farag's workers won't be bored.

The race's leaders predict growth as its reputation — flat course, good weather most of the time — reaches a wider audience.

"More excitement," Seeley said. "Better promotions. We have such a great event that everyone wants to do it. Signing up earlier saves money because the race prices go up the closer you get to the race."