Lend a hand

Lend a hand

Volunteers are still needed to make the upcoming Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon a big success.

With the sixth annual marathon just two weeks away, organizers are putting the finishing touches on what is a mammoth enterprise.

The event is scheduled over three days — April 24-26 — with a Friday night 5K race kicking off the activities. A menu of events will follow Saturday morning. The marathon will start at St. Mary's Road and First Street and finish in the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium.

Last year's event drew more than 20,000 participants, and a group of similar size is expected again this year. So far, race co-director Jan Seeley said the marathon is "getting close to 17,000" sign-ups.

But managing all those people and events — including the 10K, half-marathon, relay marathon and marathon — requires people, and marathon planners don't have all the volunteers they need to ensure things runs smoothly.

Roughly 3,500 volunteers are needed. Seeley said organizers need about 450 more — 200-250 course volunteers and another 200 for other jobs. They had hoped to have the necessary volunteers on board and trained by the end of March. But that didn't happen.

So anyone with a little time on their hands and an interest in being a part of one of Champaign-Urbana's biggest events ought to consider volunteering.

People can sign up online by going to IllinoisMarathon.com and clicking on volunteers. From there, they can either click on either "Join our Course Intersection Team" or "Join our Volunteer Team." People can choose the intersection they wish to manage or the non-course job they wish to perform.

The marathon has become a big deal in this community, a virtual overnight success that draws people and sparks interest. This year's event will be no different, but more help will make a great event even better.

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